In a new rather unexpected development Ethiopian Airlines (ET) has just announced the re-commencement of flights into Singapore Changi (SIN).
Ethiopian has been expanding rapidly in the Asian market, adding tag ons to Kuala Lumpur and Manila from their Bangkok flights and also adding Guangzhou and Seoul. Singapore makes perfect sense as their next foray in the region, especially because it is a Star Alliance hub through Singapore Airlines (SQ).
Effective June 1, 2017, ET will serve Singapore with their state of the art 787-8 aircraft from their hub in Addis Ababa with the following schedule:
ET638 Addis Ababa 0030 – 1515 Singapore
ET639 Singapore 0045 – 0630 Addis Ababa
It is pretty ambitious of ET to start flights off with a daily service to begin with, but it also shows their ambition with the route. Singapore has been a traditionally high business and purchasing power route so revenues in the premium cabins should be strong.
It also offers Star Alliance customers a direct link to Ethiopia from SIN – currently SQ’s only offerings to Africa from Singapore are to South Africa (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban) and Egypt (Cairo via Dubai).
But more importantly, Addis also offers a massive, massive array of connecting destinations to Central, Western and Southern Africa which now becomes a one stop flight. Up till recently Emirates and Qatar were the main contenders in this market but it was a real pain for Star passengers to get to, say Dakar from Singapore without making multiple stops whilst still earning Star miles. It also cuts passenger travel time as it shaves off a good 2-3 hours of flight time in comparison to a transit in the Middle East.
ET have intentionally scheduled in a long layover in Singapore for a late night departure to do an early morning arrival that will thus enable passengers to connect to their morning/afternoon bank of departures to other African destinations which will be prove to be very effective. Similarly, the late departure from Addis also enables passengers to connect from all over ET’s vast African network all day so as to maximize the number of passenger destinations they will be able to capture.
All in all, this makes a lot of sense – ET over SQ is the right airline to start this route, and two huge Star Alliance hubs are now connected and will be a good supplement to Ethiopian Airlines’ Bangkok operations. Don’t be surprised if some new ET/SQ code shares and deals come out in the next few months.
And one last word, for those a bit more creative – keep a look out for some attractive fares (and elite qualifying miles) from Washington DC and New York to Singapore via Addis – it will be a possibility and will be only 45 minutes or so longer than SQ’s own offering via Frankfurt.
A cheap flat bed and Ethiopian hospitality from the US East Coast to Singapore is never a bad option.
Think about it.