September 16, 2019: Ethiopian Airlines has finalised its plans to launch flights from Addis Ababa to Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) starting December 16, 2019. The carrier will offer direct, nonstop Houston-West Africa air services operations three times per week.

The new Houston flights will be operated via the Ethiopian West African Hub in Lome, Togo, and will facilitate the travel of the large African community in the Houston area as well as the oil and gas industry and other companies doing business in the region.

Ethiopian Airlines cited the "travel of the huge African community in the Houston area, and oil and other companies doing business in the continent," for bringing the flights to Houston. Houston is home to the largest Nigerian community in the United States. Houston is also home to numerous multinational corporations, including some of the world's largest energy companies that support extensive global operations in West Africa.

Houston aviation director Mario Diaz, said, "The Houston Airport System has been committed to re-establishing the direct connection with our city and region to Africa, and we fully support Ethiopian Airlines in bringing this effort to fruition. We're extremely pleased to partner with Ethiopian, the world's fourth-largest airline by the number of countries served, and further strengthen our international connections to the key global market of Africa."

Tewolde GebreMariam, group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said, "The US is among our most important markets owing to the presence of a large African community and growing investment, trade and tourism relations with Africa. Our new route structure with additional frequencies to multiple gateways and the opening of the new route to Houston are aimed at responding to the market demand and availing the best possible connectivity between the US and over 60 African destinations. The new flights will provide the only direct and most efficient connections between Houston and West Africa."

GebreMariam further added that Ethiopian Airlines fully intends to "keep on expanding our U.S. and African network so as to facilitate people-to-people ties and the flow of investment, trade and tourism."

Houston is the fourth most populous city in the US and the world's largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions as well as NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located.

Ethiopian Airlines will become the 21st foreign flag carrier offering passenger flights out of Bush Airport. Africa's leading carrier has been expanding its international destinations which have now reached 125. Marseille, Garowe, and Beira are the new international destinations launched recently.

The route was originally announced in January 2019 and was expected to launch in the summer of 2019. The new Houston flight is part of a restructuring of Ethiopian Airlines' routes, which included eliminating its Los Angeles route. The airline was fortunate in 2015 when it secured fifth freedom rights for its Addis Ababa to Los Angeles service.

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