Ethiopian Airlines has announced it will start a direct route from Oslo to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, from March 2017.
The flights will run five times a week using a 787-8 Dreamliner, and are the first ever scheduled direct flights to be offered from Norway to Africa.
The Norwegian embassy in Ethiopia played an important role in the establishment of the new route, which is an early sign that the recent investment in expanding Oslo's Gardermoen Airport is already paying dividends.
“We are proud of the fact that Africa’s largest airline is commencing their service five times a week between Oslo Airport and Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. We are also delighted to see that the investments made to develop Oslo Airport are now bearing fruit,” says Oslo Airport's Managing Director, Øyvind Hasaas.
“Norway now has a route to the best connected airport in Africa in terms of transfers to other African destinations. This ensures great opportunities for Norwegian tourists as well as Norwegian businesses and freight. Norwegians are the world’s most travelled people – this is obviously of great importance to Ethiopian.”
A gateway to Africa
Residents of Norway now have better access to the entire African continent than ever before. From their hub at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines flies to 19 destinations across Africa, more than any other carrier.
Popular regional destinations include Luanda in Angola, Douala and Yaoundé in Cameroon, Accra in Ghana, Mombassa and Nairobi in Kenya, Windhoek in Namibia, Lagos in Nigeria, Kigali in Rwanda, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Harare in Zimbabwe, and Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg in South Africa.
The government-owned airline, the largest in Africa, is a member of the Star Alliance along with Scandinavian Airlines.
Top things to do in Ethiopia
The country is opening up to the world after a very volatile period.
As the headquarters of the African Union, Addis Ababa is known as the capital of Africa. The city is home to the continent's largest market, and many beautiful churches, cathedrals, and mosques. The Ethnographic Museum and the National Museum are fascinating sights in this high-altitude city.
There's also plenty to explore outside of the capital. According to folklore, Aksum was once home to the Queen of Sheba and is now the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. The walled city of Harar oozes historic charm, while the Simien Mountains and Great Rift Valley offers outstanding hiking opportunities.
The huge complex of rose-pink rock churches at Lalibela is a remarkable feat of 12th-century ingenuity, while the chanting of local priests will add an eeriness to your experience.