To further develop its fast expanding long-haul route network, Ethiopian Airlines has placed an order for 10 additional Airbus A350-900 aircraft. This is in line with one of the four pillars of its 15-years strategic roadmap according to CEO Tewolde GebreMariam.
Ethiopian, the largest airline on the African continent, will deploy the additional aircraft on its long-haul routes connecting its hub in Addis Ababa with destinations across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
In December 2016, the airline received approval for a $159 million package from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance its expansion plan which includes modernizing its fleet.
“The performance, operational and cost efficiencies we have achieved with our initial A350-900s have resulted in these additional ten aircraft order placement and thereby suffice our ever-expanding global network,” he added.
The airline became the first African airline to operate the A350, the world’s most advanced commercial passenger aircraft, when it acquired one in June 2016. It currently operates four A350s, two of which are on lease as it awaits delivery of the rest of the 12 aircraft in its first order.
John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers said “Ethiopian Airlines’ repeat order is a resounding endorsement of the A350, its suitability, flexibility and unmatched economics. We are delighted that the innovative aircraft -the A350- is closely associated with the world’s fastest growing and profitable carriers.”
A350s are configured in a two-class layout seating 30 passengers in Business Class and 313 in Economy Class with spacious, quiet interior and mood lighting in the cabin offering passenger comfort and safety.
They feature the latest aerodynamic design and material including carbon-fibre fuselage and wings and is powered by the new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, technological features that result in a 25 per cent fuel burn reduction and emissions as well as low maintenance costs.
Ethiopian is reportedly Africa’s most profitable airline and is considered one of the fastest growing within the industry.