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The Most Popular Africa-Bound Routes From The US

by Staff

Summary

  • New York JFK to Cairo is the most popular US-Africa route, with 9,640 seats on 30 scheduled flights this month.
  • Atlanta to Johannesburg is another popular route, connecting one of Africa’s main airports to the world’s busiest.
  • Royal Air Maroc has 48 scheduled flights from the US to Morocco, connecting the country to important destinations in North America.



This month, 488 flights and 130,606 seats are on offer from the United States to Africa. With eight airlines flying between the two regions, there are 23 non-stop and four one-stop US-Africa routes.

According to data from Cirium, an aviation analytics company, 12 African airports have flights from the United States this month: Abidjan (ABJ), Accra (ACC), Addis Ababa (ADD), Cairo (CAI), Casablanca (CMN), Cape Town (CPT), Dakar (DSS), Johannesburg (JNB), Lomé (LFW), Lagos (LOS), Nairobi (NBO), and Praia (RAI). They are connected to some of the world’s busiest airports, including Atlanta (ATL) and New York (JFK). In this article, we will look at the five most popular routes for US-Africa travel by the number of seats on offer.


1 New York JFK-Cairo

9,640 seats

Weekly flights

Seven

Distance (NM)

4,878

No. of airlines

One


This month, the most popular US-Africa route is from New York John F Kennedy Airport (JFK) to Cairo International Airport (CAI), with 30 scheduled flights and 9,640 seats. The 4,878 NM (9,034 km) route is operated by Egyptair, the only carrier with non-stop flights between the two airports. The airline operates daily flights with the Boeing 777-300ER.

Photo: Eliyahu Yosef Parypa | Shutterstock 

Cairo is one of Africa’s busiest airports and is the main gateway in the northern part of the continent. Last year, it received 26 million passengers, a 30% increase from the 20 million handled in 2022. In total, there are 52 scheduled flights and 16,438 seats from the US to Egypt this month.


Egyptair operates two more routes from the United States, connecting Cairo to Newark Liberty Airport (EWR) and Washington Dulles (IAD). The carrier currently operates three weekly flights from IAD and two weekly from EWR with its Boeing 787-9 aircraft. IAD-CAI is the longest route between the two countries at 5,076 NM (9,401 km).

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2 Atlanta-Johannesburg

9,486 seats

Weekly flights

Seven

Distance (NM)

7,333

No. of airlines

One

This month’s second most popular Africa-bound route, with 31 flights and 9,486 seats, is from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL) to Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport (JNB). This route connects the world’s busiest airport with Africa’s second busiest as of March 2024. At 7,333 NM (13,581 km), ATL-JNB is Africa’s longest non-stop intercontinental route.


A Delta Airbus A350-900 taking off.

Photo: Delta Air Lines

The route is served by Delta Air Lines, operating daily flights with the Airbus A350-900. In total, there are 89 scheduled flights and 25,067 seats from the US to South Africa this month. Delta has 44 flights and 13,464 seats, serving Johannesburg and Cape Town from Atlanta. ATL-CPT sees up to three weekly flights with the A350-900.


Meanwhile, United Airlines has 45 scheduled flights and 11,603 seats. It serves Cape Town from Newark and Washington, as well as Johannesburg from Newark with its Boeing 777s and 787s. This month, there are over 42 airlines with non-stop flights to and from Johannesburg, making it one of Africa’s most popular destinations for international flights.

3 Washington-Addis Ababa

9,267 seats

Weekly flights

Seven

Distance (NM)

6,250

No. of airlines

one

While there aren’t as many international carriers serving Addis Ababa as Cairo or Johannesburg, the airport is well-connected, thanks to Ethiopian Airlines’ extensive international network. This month, 31 non-stop flights and 9,486 seats are scheduled from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD), making it the third most popular route from the US.


An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft landing

Photo: Wirestock Creators | Shutterstock

Ethiopian Airlines operates daily flights with its 787-8s and -9s. At 6,250 NM (11,576 km), IAD-ADD is the ninth-longest non-stop route to Africa. ET also has 13 scheduled flights and 3,510 seats on its route from Washington to Addis Ababa, operated via Lomé, Togo. This route sees up to three weekly flights, operated with the Dreamliner. This service was launched in 2022, highlighting the importance of the US market.

The carrier’s outbound flights from Addis to North American destinations like Washington, Atlanta, Toronto, and Chicago are not non-stop. They are operated with a technical stop in Rome, which replaced Dublin last October. This month, there are a total of 112 flights, with 31,180 seats on offer from the US to Ethiopia. The national carrier flies from five US airports and remains the only carrier with non-stop flights between the two countries.


4 New York JFK-Casablanca

7,684 seats

Weekly flights

Six

Distance (NM)

3,136

No. of airlines

one

New York JFK-Casablanca is the second most popular route from the United States to North Africa, with 26 scheduled flights and 7,684 seats this month. The route is served by Royal Air Maroc, operating an average of six weekly flights with its 787-9s. At 3,136 NM (5,808 km), JFK-CMN is the fifth-longest non-stop route to Morocco and the third-longest from the US.

Royal Air Maroc (Oneworld Livery) Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
 


Royal Air Maroc has 48 scheduled flights and 13,768 seats from the US to Morocco this month. In addition to its JFK-CMN service, it offers two weekly Boeing 787-8 flights from both Miami and Washington Dulles. The Moroccan national carrier currently serves about 71 international destinations, including four in North America.

Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport (CMN) is the country’s busiest airport, handling over 30% of flights to Morocco. Last year, the airport welcomed 9.8 million passengers. Despite witnessing 28% growth from the previous year, it has not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. After reaching 95% of 2019 figures, the Moroccan Airports Authority (ONDA) expects full recovery in 2024.

5 Chicago-Addis Ababa

7,020 seats

Weekly flights

Six

Distance (NM)

6,584

No. of airlines

one


In March 2024, there are 26 flights and 7,020 seats from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Addis Ababa. The route, which is the fifth-most popular between Africa and the US, is served by Ethiopian Airlines six times a week with the 787-8. At 6,584 NM (12,193 km), ORD-ADD is Africa’s seventh-longest non-stop intercontinental route. It is also ET’s second-longest after ATL-ADD, at 6,692 NM (12,393 km).

Ethiopian 787 taking off

Photo: Philip Pilosian | Shutterstock

Ethiopian Airlines’ ORD-ADD service runs from Monday to Saturday. Flight ET575 departs Chicago at 09:45 and arrives in Addis at 08:30 local time. The carrier launched passenger flights to Chicago in 2018 as its fourth destination in the US. With Canada included, it currently serves six destinations in North America and plans to add two new destinations per year.


In 2023, ET added Atlanta as its fifth destination in the US. It has 13 scheduled and 3,510 seats for March 2024, operating an average of three weekly flights with the 787-8. In total, the carrier’s international network covers over 117 destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America.

What are your thoughts on this story? Have you ever flown on any of these routes before? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section!

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