From October 31st, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) will start flying to Zurich, making the Swiss City its 16th European passenger destination and its second destination in the country after Geneva. This is in conjunction with other changes the Ethiopia flag carrier is making to its European flight network.
The airline will first stop at Italy’s Milan Malpensa Airport for about 1 hour in both directions. Upon getting to Zurich, ET’s plane(s) will remain on the ground for a whole day to maximise its connections to other African countries. Thus, this new route will allow people in Zurich to travel to other African countries via Ethiopia.
ET’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners will fly to Zurich on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The long-range widebody planes have a total of 315 seats, with 30 business class seats, 285 economy class seats, and no first class seats.
The flights from Addis Ababa to Milan will last 5 hours, taking off at 00:15 and landing at 4:50 in local Italian time. ET’s plane will then set off for Zurich at 5:50 and land at 7:00. ET will commence its flight from Zurich to Milan at 20:30, land at 21:40, and then take off at 22:30 to land at Addis Ababa by 7:05 the next day.
Currently, the flights between Zurich and Milan cannot be booked separately.
Booking data from 2019 showed that 169,000 passengers travelled between Zurich and Africa in 2019, making it a market worth servicing. However, that figure does not include those who travelled to North African countries, or those who flew directly with SWISS airline. The flight path of the former category would be unreasonable since North Africa is closer to Europe than Ethiopia, while passengers in the latter category will likely not pick the less favourable 2-stop option ET will offer.
Aside from SWISS, airlines that currently operate flights from Zurich to Africa are Edelweiss Air, Tunisair and Chair Airlines.
Of the 169,000 passengers, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Windhoek, Seychelles and Mombasa were the five largest markets. Ethiopia will thus serve as a gate way for Southern Africa- and East Africa- bound passengers from Zurich.
Just at the start of the month, ET added Athens in Greece, Jakarta in Indonesia, Chennai in India, Damman in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to its flight network, marking a total of 27 international destinations. The addition of Zurich will marks a new total of 28 international destinations.
Some other changes to its European network include a terminating flight at Brussels from Addis Ababa, rather than extending to Manchester. The flight to Manchester will now route via Geneva instead of Brussels.
Sources: Simple Flying, This day, Air Journal.