Flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines is to add flights between Addis Ababa and Manchester from this winter.

The airline recently increased the frequency of its flights to London Heathrow, and at the time hinted at expansion into other UK airports.

This has now been confirmed, with a four times weekly service starting on December 11.

According to a press release the route is “initially transiting via Brussels” – no details have been given as to whether Ethiopian plans to convert it to a nonstop service in the future.

Flights will be operated by a two-class B787 Dreamliner aircraft, departing Addis Ababa at 0045, arriving into Manchester at 0655, before returning from the UK at 1900, arriving back into the Ethiopian capital at 0600 the following day.

The carrier says that the new route “will unlock connections to more than 58 countries across the African continent”.

Return economy fares will start from £499, with business class starting from £1,999.

Commenting on the news Manchester Airport CEO Andrew Cowan 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.

“While we have served a number of African holiday destinations for many years, this service will provide vital connectivity to one of the continent’s most important hub airports.

“That will unlock dozens more destinations across Africa through Ethiopian Airlines’ unrivalled network, meaning the North will be better connected to this part of the world than ever before.”

Business Traveller reviewed Ethiopian Airlines’ B787 business class product on a flight between Heathrow and Addis Ababa in 2014, and we have also reviewed the carrier’s A350 business class service on the same route.