Ethiopian Airlines set to resume route from JFK to Ivory Coast this spring

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Ivory Coast is getting its first nonstop flight to the U.S. in almost two years, thanks to Ethiopian Airlines.

The carrier is resuming nonstop flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Abidjan, one of the largest cities in Ivory Coast, starting May 23. New York passengers can connect to or from the airline’s hub in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, via Abidjan.

The revival of the route also marks the return of a fifth-freedom flight for the carrier. A fifth-freedom flight allows an airline to fly between two countries that aren’t the carrier’s home country as long as the flight continues to or from that airline’s home nation. There are numerous fifth-freedom routes from the U.S., including several on Singapore Airlines. Some examples include its routes between JFK and Frankfurt, and Houston and Manchester, England.

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As for Ethiopian, it first launched flights to Ivory Coast from New York City in June 2019; it suspended the route almost a year later, in March 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ivory Coast is a West African country known for its lush forests filled with palm trees. One of its most notable sites is a beautiful basilica — loosely based on St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City — located in the country’s capital Yamoussoukro.

However, due to ongoing regional political tensions and high crime rates, the U.S. Department of State recommends reconsidering travel to Ivory Coast.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Mesfin Tasew said the carrier has been trying to add more routes to its map in the past few months, including resuming flights it previously canceled because of COVID-19.

“We have been increasing frequencies and adding new destinations in Africa, Europe, Middle East, and Asia in the past couple of months and we are delighted that the Abidjan-New York route is coming again,” Tasew said.

The airline has also been growing its network in the U.S. In January, Ethiopian announced it would service flights between Atlanta and Addis Ababa starting May 16. The carrier already flies to New York, Newark, Chicago and Washington, D.C.