Where did US passengers go?

Whether surprising or not, the largest chunk of Ethiopian Airlines’ passengers was point-to-point (P2P), as shown below. About four in every ten flew only between Addis Ababa and the US.

  • P2P: 158,000 passengers in 2019
  • Transited Addis Ababa: 97,000
  • Flew xxx-USA airport served by Ethiopian-Addis Ababa: 75,000
  • Bridged (flew xxx-USA-Addis Ababa-xxx): 66,000

If you add P2P to the third category, a total of 233,000 passengers (nearly six in ten) didn’t transit beyond Ethiopia. Seattle-Addis Ababa, Minneapolis-Addis Ababa, Atlanta-Addis Ababa, Denver-Addis Ababa, and Las Vegas-Addis Ababa were the biggest markets because of the diaspora. They flew fellow Star Alliance carrier United, and passengers primarily connected to Ethiopian in Dulles and Chicago.

Notice the last category. This is where passengers ‘bridge’ two airports/hubs. Ethiopian’s largest bridging origin and destination (O&D) market was Minneapolis-Jijiga (Ethiopia), followed by Minneapolis-Hargeisa (Somaliland), Detroit-Djibouti, Columbus-Hargeisa, and Seattle-Asmara (Eritrea), also driven by the diaspora.

Photo: Alan W
Top transit O&Ds
About 40% of Ethiopian’s passengers transited its Addis Ababa hub, whether originating/ending at a US airport served by the carrier or bridging.
Ignoring bridging passengers, analyzing booking data suggests that 70% of the 97,000 transit passengers traveled between the US and Southern and Eastern Africa. As shown below, Washington Dulles via Addis to/from Nairobi was the most popular O&D market, but it was small, just like the others in the top 10:

Have you flown Ethiopian between the US and Africa? If so, share your experiences in the comments.

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