Ethiopian To Fly 3x Daily To Johannesburg and Daily To South American Cities
- For the first time, each of the 3x daily services to Johannesburg will be by a widebody, every single day.
- São Paulo & Buenos Aires cities will soon return to daily service, last offered in January 2019.
Ethiopian Airlines is increasing Addis Ababa to Johannesburg to 3x daily. But that’s not the real news: it had that many flights in 2018, 2019, and in early 2020, and is simply returning to that level. Instead, it’s noteworthy because every flight every day will be by a widebody – the first time it has happened. It comes as São Paulo and Buenos Aires return to 1x daily and soon after the launch of Amman.
Ethiopian to Johannesburg
Ethiopian currently serves the large South Africa city 2x daily. It’ll rise to 17x weekly from the end of October, with 3x daily on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and 2x daily on the other four days.
But from November 30th, it’ll be 3x daily every day, in time for the Southern Hemisphere’s peak summer, returning to a level last seen on a regular basis in March 2020. And each will be by either the A350 or 787.
The increase in frequency and the number of seats per flight because of being all-widebody has resulted in seats for sale rising by a whopping quarter over winter 2019 to a quarter of a million, as shown in the future below. It is by far the highest ever.
The schedule is as follows with all times local:
|Addis Ababa-Johannesburg||ET809||08:40-13:05||A350-900||Fed by Europe/North America/Middle East/Asia/North Africa|
|Addis Ababa-Johannesburg||ET849||15:45-20:10||787-8||Fed by India/Tel Aviv/Istanbul/some Africa|
|Addis Ababa-Johannesburg||ET859||23:30-03:55+1||787-8||Fed by West/Central Africa/Dubai|
|Johannesburg-Addis Ababa||ET848||08:20-14:45||787-8||Feeds India/Tel Aviv/Istanbul/some Africa|
|Johannesburg-Addis Ababa||ET808||14:25-20:40||A350-900||Feeds Europe/North America/Middle East/Asia/North Africa|
|Johannesburg-Addis Ababa||ET858||23:30-05:55+1||787-8||Feeds West/Central Africa/London|
A large market for Ethiopian
Johannesburg is an important market for Ethiopian. Indeed, of all of its international markets this coming winter, it’ll be one of just five served 3x daily or more. It joins Dubai (3x daily, all widebody), Entebbe (3x daily, all narrowbody), Khartoum (3x daily, all narrowbody), and Nairobi (3x daily, all narrowbody).
Ethiopian’s Johannesburg operation is helped by its interline agreement with Airlink and fellow South African regional operator, Cemair. These relationships enable the Star Alliance carrier to access multiple destinations in Southern Africa, which it couldn’t serve using its own metal, increasing network, passenger volume, and revenue.
The partnerships follow the suspension of Ethiopian’s codeshare with fellow Star member South African. Indeed, given SAA’s continuing woes and that its all-important regional operation is now by independent Airlink, it would surely have pretty limited value.
A look at Johannesburg passengers
Analyzing booking data for 2019, the last year unaffected by the pandemic, shows that Ethiopian carried approximately 371,000 Johannesburg passengers. It means that, with 463,000 seats for sale, it achieved a seat load factor of around 80%. Its passenger traffic was broken down as follows:
- 78% of passengers transited over Addis Ababa to/from Johannesburg
- 9% ‘bridged’ Addis Ababa and Johannesburg (e.g., Mumbai-Addis-Johannesburg-Durban)
- 12% were point-to-point (only flew between Addis and Johannesburg)
- 1% flew from Addis over Johannesburg
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.
Where Johannesburg passengers go
Perhaps surprisingly, booking data shows that Ethiopian’s largest transit market in 2019 was India, with three times as many passengers as number two, Israel. The rest of the top ten were Nigeria, the UK, China, South Africa, Sudan, Kenya, the UAE, and the Demographic Republic of Congo. These countries had around half of Johannesburg’s total transit traffic.
If broken down at the airport level, the top markets were:
- Mumbai over Addis Ababa to/from Johannesburg
- Tel Aviv-Johannesburg
- London Heathrow-Johannesburg
- Nairobi-Johannesburg (despite enormous backtracking!)
- Hong Kong-Johannesburg
The Airline Boosts São Paulo & Buenos Aires Flights
Ethiopian Airlines will increase São Paulo – which continues to Buenos Aires – to 1x daily from October 16th, up from the current 5x weekly. João Pita, CCO of São Paulo Guarulhos, described the development on LinkedIn as “a true milestone for the airport and for Ethiopian.”
Having started passenger service to São Paulo in July 2013 and Buenos Aires in March 2018, analyzing schedules information from OAG shows that there has been only a handful of times that they’ve been served 1x daily, most recently in January 2019.
In a month and a half, Ethiopian Airlines will return its long passenger route to South America to 1x daily. It’ll remain at that frequency until the end of March. It means that the aviation Southern Hemisphere summer season, when demand is highest, will have the most capacity as you’d expect. Come April, and as winter kicks in, it’ll reduce to 5x weekly.
The schedule is as follows, with all times local. Note that the airline has fifth freedom traffic rights between the two Latin American airports.
- Addis Ababa to São Paulo: ET506, 10:05-16:15 (12h 10m block time)
- São Paulo to Buenos Aires: ET506, 17:30-20:25 (2h 55m)
- Buenos Aires to São Paulo: ET507, 21:55-00:30+1 (2h 35m)
- São Paulo to Addis Ababa: ET507, 01:45-19:45 (12h)
The one-stop route, some 7,240 miles (11,652km) to Buenos Aires, will continue to use the B787-8, the Star Alliance member’s most numerous widebody variant. Averaging 7.8 years, they all have 270 seats, there are 24 fully flat business seats and 246 seats in economy. The B787-8 has the joint-fewest business seats of the airline’s other widebodies, alongside the B767-300ERs, which are now mainly used within Africa and will be turned into freighters.
Brazil and Argentina
São Paulo and Buenos Aires are good for not just targeting Africa passengers and cargo but fundamentally also those bound for the Middle East and Asia generally.
Booking data shows that, in 2019, the last year unaffected by coronavirus, point-to-point (P2P) demand was minuscule. If Ethiopian Airlines relied only on P2P passengers (excluding fifth freedom), it’d have had a seat load factor of around 8%, such is the obvious importance of transit and ‘bridging’ passengers. Thanks to Ethiopian Airlines’ codeshare with Azul, over a fifth of passengers ‘bridged’ both São Paulo and Addis Ababa hubs; perhaps you’d not guess that more people flew Quito-São-Addis-Windhoek than anywhere else, although it was still a tiny market.
According to booking data, around 70% of passengers transited Addis Ababa, with three times as many to/from São Paulo as Buenos Aires.
Where did passengers go?
As the departure and arrival times of ET506/ET507 in Ethiopia as primarily designed to connect to the Middle East and Asia, it should not be surprising that these were the main markets. Indeed, over half of São Paulo/Buenos Aires passengers transited to/from Asia, growing to three quarters when the Middle East is added.
Of course, China was the largest country market, with approximately two and a half times as many passengers as number two, Israel. Both were primarily driven by São Paulo, as reflected in the following top 10 markets. Notice only one was in Africa:
- São Paulo to Shanghai
- São Paulo to Tel Aviv
- São Paulo to Guangzhou
- São Paulo to Tokyo
- São Paulo to Lagos
- Buenos Aires to Bangkok
- São Paulo to Bangkok
- São Paulo to Beirut
- Buenos Aires to Delhi
- São Paulo to Dubai
Source Simple Flying