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Ethiopian Air to Add Manchester in Extension of Brussels Flights

Guests tour the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on arrival in Addis Ababa on August 17, 2012. Ethiopian Airlines received Africa's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Friday, making Ethiopia the only country aside from Japan to operate the innovative aircraft. "As a continent this shows how much we are making progress as Africans... competing on the global stage and changing our image," Ethiopian Airline CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told reporters AFP PHOTO/JENNY VAUGHAN. (Photo credit should read JENNY VAUGHAN/AFP/GettyImages) Photographer: AFP via Getty Images

Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise will start serving Manchester in northern England from December, adding a second U.K. destination months before Britain is due to quit the European Union and 45 years after the carrier began flying to London Heathrow.

The service from Addis Ababa will operate four times weekly using a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner jet in a two-class layout, initially as an extension of the carrier’s existing Brussels route, Ethiopian Air said in a statement Monday.

Ethiopian, Africa’s largest airline by passenger traffic, has developed a network that links 67 major global cities with almost 60 African destinations via its hub in the capital. About 400,000 people living within a two-hour drive of Manchester currently travel to Africa each year, according to the airport.

Tewolde GebreMariam, the airline’s chief executive officer, said in an interview that the initial flights are being tacked on to the Brussels route in order to test the market and that direct services should begin some time next year.

The route will boost trade, investment and tourism in both directions, according to the CEO, who added that he has no concerns that Brexit will affect demand.

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