Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) is set to begin longhaul operations out of Abidjan following the signing of an agreement with the Ivorian government earlier this week.

In a statement to the Agence Ivoirienne de Presse (AIP), Ivory Coast Minister of Transport Amadou Koné said 4x weekly flights to the United States would start from mid-May onwards.

The US cities to be served include New York, Washington Dulles, and a third unspecified point. Operations will be onboard B787-8 equipment.

To ensure the services' sustainability, Air Côte d'Ivoire (HF, Abidjan) will provide regional West African feed akin to how ASKY Airlines (KP, Lomé) provides feeder traffic from its West and Central African services for Ethiopian's 5x weekly Lomé, Togo to New York Newark flights.

The Ivorian government had earlier considered offers from each of South African Airways (SA, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) and Kenya Airways (KQ, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta) prior to settling on Ethiopian's.

The Ivory Coast and Ethiopia initialled a revised air services agreement late last year which presumably includes 5th freedom traffic rights.