(eTN) – Dubai’s own low-cost airline, Fly Dubai, has just announced the launch of a new destination, Addis Ababa, as it eyes further expansion into Africa.
The airline, already flying to Egypt, Sudan, and Djibouti, seems to gradually move further south on the continent, and the introduction of three times a week flights to Addis may be the harbinger of things yet to come.
Using a fleet of exclusively NG Boeing 737-800s, the airline will fly every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday between Dubai and Addis beginning April 22, joining giant “cousin” Emirates – they fly daily to Addis and then on to Entebbe – and Ethiopian Airlines on the route. Pricing will undoubtedly become a factor for the market entry of this low-cost airline, but as is the case with Air Arabia, which flies from Sharjah to Nairobi and competes there with Emirates and Kenya Airways, a success can be made out of no frills services. Notably, Air Arabia is going daily on that route now and Fly Dubai is also expected, once the new Addis service has taken hold in the market, to soon consider adding more flights as loadfactors reach the planned and forecast levels.
A sizeable contingent of Ethiopian expatriate workers are currently living and working in the UAE and they in particular, as will their families when coming for visits, will be keenly watching the launch fares and are expected to make up a major share of the projected traffic Fly Dubai intends to capture. The same also applies to expats living in the Gulf and wanting to explore Ethiopia’s rich heritage and see some of the national parks, or explore the source of the “Blue Nile,” spending money on the ground and not too much in getting there.