February 5, 2018

Chicago Department of Aviation and Ethiopian Airlines Announce First-Ever Direct Flights to Africa from Chicago-O’Hare

CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Aviation and its newest air carrier partner, Ethiopian Airlines, announced today that new nonstop service between Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) and Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) will begin on June 9, 2018. The addition of this new service represents the first-ever direct scheduled passenger service between Chicago and Africa, and the eighth new international service to Chicago that is planned to launch in 2018.

While each new destination added at O'Hare International Airport further expands our connectivity to the world, this landmark route will unlock new opportunities for the City of Chicago and travelers across the globe," said Ginger S. Evans, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation. "We want to thank Ethiopian Airlines for choosing to grow in Chicago, and we look forward to partnering with them to deliver new tourism and economic opportunities here and throughout Africa.”

The new service will be offered three-times weekly, with flights departing O’Hare on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; and arriving on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday using a 270-seat Boeing 787-8 aircraft.  O’Hare  will become one of few airports in the U.S. offering frequent, direct passenger service to the nation of Ethiopia, as well as the continent of Africa. Further, the service is expected to bring $70 million in annual economic impact to the Chicago region.

“Chicago will be our 4th destination in the U.S. and our 7th in the Americas, fulfilling critical air connectivity in the U.S. by launching the only direct service between Chicago and Africa,” said Mr. Tewolde Gebre Mariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.  “Chicago is the main hub of our Star Alliance partner, United Airlines and the flight will be operated together with United offering best connections to travelers. The flight will further boost the growing economic and people-to-people relations between the City of Chicago, the U.S. and Africa by enabling greater flow of trade, investment and tourism.”

Passengers arriving in Chicago via the new route will have convenient connections to many North American destinations through Ethiopian’s Star Alliance partner, United Airlines.  Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is  located in the Ethiopian capital, and Ethiopian Airlines’ hub serves 55 destinations throughout the African continent while also providing connections to the Indian Ocean region and the Middle East.

This new service will benefit the City’s growing global business and trade partnerships across Africa, where approximately 50 Chicago-area companies have operations in over 100 locations across 10 African countries.

Service continues to grow at both O'Hare and Midway International Airports, with 28 new routes already announced for 2018, including nonstop services to Budapest, London-Gatwick and Venice. This steady expansion builds on the addition of 37 new routes added in 2017, which contributed to another record year for passengers served and cargo carried at Chicago O’Hare.

O'Hare is ranked number one for connectivity among U.S. mega hub airports, for the highest ratio of possible scheduled connections to number of destinations served. To maintain its status as an easily accessible and attractive destination for international travelers, the City continues to grow international capacity at O'Hare. These  investments are a part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's O'Hare 21 vision, designed to modernize facilities, expand capacity and passenger amenities, and enable O’Hare’s future growth to better connect travelers and Chicago to other parts of the world.

For more information about Ethiopian Airlines and to purchase tickets, please visit www.ethiopianairlines.com.

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