Ethiopian Airlines has become the first flight operator in Africa to receive the long awaited composite jet – the Boeing 787 Dreamliner range of aircraft.
The State-run airline described as the fastest growing airline business in Africa, took delivery of the first long awaited Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Tuesday August 14, which has been named ‘First African’ on August 14, in Seattle, Washington.
“Today begins the first day in a new era of flying for our passengers and brings us even closer to our vision for the future,” says Tewolde GebreMariam, chief executive of Ethiopian, in a statement. “This airplane is going to move Ethiopian Airlines to the forefront of aviation leadership around the globe.”
“We are proud to be the first airline in the world outside Japan to receive this ultra-modern aircraft. It is a continuation of our pioneering role in African aviation and a testimony of the solid partnership we have forged with Boeing over many decades”.
Ethiopian plans to showcase the plane in Washington DC to invited guests and members of the large Ethiopian Diaspora community, it will then make its inaugural trip to Africa with its first revenue flight from Dulles International Airport to Bole Addis Ababa International Airport on August 16. The airline will hold celebrations in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa for the arrival of the aircraft.
According to the Ethiopian Airline, starting from August 19 the first Ethiopian Dreamliner will be operating on rotation basis to about 15 African destinations including among others, Kilimanjaro, Mombasa, Harare, Lusaka, Nairobi, Entebbe, Lagos, Johannesburg, Abuja, Malabo, Douala, Lome, Accra, Maputo, and Luanda. Dubai, Mumbai, Rome, London, and Frankfurt are also the destinations for Ethiopian’s operation with the Dreamliner.
The plane’s maiden flight takes place over the weekend, a flight near Mount Kilimanjaro on the Tanzania-Kenya border.
The Boeing 787 range of aircraft provides airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance, the plane’s manufacturer, Boeing says on its website. “The airplane uses 20 per cent less fuel than today’s similarly sized airplanes. It will also travel at a similar speed as today’s fastest wide bodies, Mach 0.85. Airlines will enjoy more cargo revenue capacity,” Boeing says.
According to Boeing, composite materials make up 50 per cent of the primary structure of the 787 including the fuselage and wing. Ethiopian Airways has nine more 787 Dreamliners remaining on order.
Ethiopian, which operates an all-Boeing fleet, is the first carrier outside Japan to take delivery of a 787. United Airlines and Air India are expected to receive their first copies of the aircraft this month. Kenya Airways which markets itself as the Pride of Africa, just like Ethiopian Airline is also in the race to acquire the Dreamliner fleet.