Manchester Airport has secured a landmark route into Africa, underlining its pivotal role in connecting the North to the world’s most important markets. Ethiopian Airlines confirmed it will operate four-times-a-week service, starting from December 1, to Addis Ababa, the East African nation’s capital. The route will unlock connections to more than 58 countries across the African continent. Ethiopian Airlines, which flies to more destinations in Africa than any other carrier, will operate the ultramodern B-787 on the route with business and economy classes.It will serve as a key trade route for Northern businesses, opening up fresh export opportunities and delivering cost and journey time savings to those already operating there. The service will initially transit via Brussels.Andrew Cowan, CEO, Manchester Airport said, “The introduction of this route underlines the critical role Manchester Airport plays in connecting the people and businesses of the North to the world’s most important markets. We hope this will unlock dozens of more destinations across Africa through Ethiopian Airlines’ unrivalled network.”Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO, Ethiopian Airlines said, “We are elated to start services to Manchester, our second destination in the UK next to London Heathrow. The socio-economic implication of the new flight is immense. With vast investment and trade potentials between Africa and the UK, the upcoming flights hold the promise of boosting trade, investment and tourism with ample business opportunities for investors and business people from both regions.”Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing, Manchester said, “The new route connecting Manchester with Addis Ababa is a great success for Greater Manchester and for the wider North of England. This opens up Greater Manchester to visitors, business investors and students from a new continent. Greater Manchester’s growth strategy has internationalisation at its heart, and Manchester has set a clear target to become a top global city by 2035. If we’re to achieve this aim, it’s vital that we continue to increase our connections with major international hubs, increasing the opportunities for global networks to choose Manchester as a place to visit, meet, invest and study in.”Ethiopia is Africa’s second largest country by population, with its hub airport perfectly placed to provide onward connectivity, particularly to sub-Saharan countries. The new route is set to benefit 400,000 people in Manchester Airport’s extensive catchment area.