ROUTES: Ethiopian plans Toronto service with 777-200LRs

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Ethiopian Airlines is planning to launch service to Toronto next year, and is evaluating several potential new destinations in the USA.

Ethiopian chief executive Girma Wake says Addis Abba-Toronto will likely be launched using the carrier's second batch of new Boeing 777-200LRs. Wake says the carrier's first three 777-200LRs, which will be delivered in November, December and January, will replace Boeing 767s on Ethiopian's Beijing and Washington Dulles services. He adds the 777-200LRs will also be deployed between long-haul flights in some denser African markets such as Angola and Nigeria.

The last two 777-200LRs in Ethiopian's five-aircraft order will be delivered in April and July. "We're thinking of flying to Toronto by next summer," Wake told ATI during the World Route Development Forum. "We already have the traffic rights."

Washington is currently Ethiopian's only North American destination. "We're looking at other points in the US but haven't finalised the study," Wake says. He adds the study includes New York, which the carrier served several years ago, Atlanta and Houston.

Ethiopian also has 10 Boeing 787s on order, which Wake expects will be delivered from mid-2011 through the end of 2012. But Wake says these aircraft will be deployed on routes to Asia, Europe and Africa. Ethiopian has been focusing network growth recently in Africa and Wake says the three additional 737-800s the carrier will take in the fourth quarter of this year will be used to further expand its African network.

Wake says Ethiopian is eagerly awaiting all the new aircraft as its current fleet is being operated to a maximum, including 16h daily average utilisation on its 767s. "I think the capacity we have today is not adequate for the market," Wake says. "Africa can still accommodate more capacity. Any aeroplane we get we'll definitely utilise."