Ethiopian airline seeks stopover in Dublin

Deal would allow African carrier to pick up Dublin passengers en route to Los Angeles

Ethiopian Airlines is considering launching a service from Addis Ababa to Los Angeles that would use Dublin as a stopover.

Ethiopian Airlines is considering launching a service from Addis Ababa to Los Angeles that would use Dublin as a stopover.

 

The Government has taken the first step towards a potentially controversial deal with Ethiopian Airlines that would allow the carrier to stop at Dublin airport to collect passengers while en route to Los Angeles.

Ethiopian’s chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam recently confirmed that the airline – Africa’s largest – is considering launching a service from Addis Ababa to Los Angeles that would use Dublin as a stopover and has already secured rights from the aviation regulator.

First step

Department of Transport

He added that the airline had yet to apply for so-called “fifth-freedom rights” which would entitle it to collect passengers at the Irish airport and fly them on to Los Angeles.

Any move to grant these rights could prove controversial. In a recent Dáil debate socialist TD Clare Daly, who represents a constituency that is home to large numbers of Dublin airport and Aer Lingus workers, questioned the initiative.

She claimed that some US carriers had threatened to pull out of the Republic were it to go ahead, and pointed out that Aer Lingus used to fly to the Californian city.

Direct routes

Leo Varadkar

“It would be in the greater business and tourism interests of Ireland as a whole to have direct routes to Africa and LA.

“I do not want to refuse an airline offering to open new routes on the basis that Irish or American airlines operating other routes believe it would somehow damage their interests.”

Aviation policy

Mr Varadkar stressed that this was not a major policy departure. “We already have existing fifth-freedom agreements with non-EU, non-US countries including Singapore and Qatar.”

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