The national flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines expects to receive Africa’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft by the start of next year in January, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tewolde Gebremariam said.
“So far, we have not been officially informed of further delays. The official notification so far we have is that the first airplane will be delivered in January, 2012,” CEO Tewolde told Capital.
The CEO downplayed reports that Ethiopian will have to wait as late as March for the much awaited Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
“Verbally, some Boeing officers are telling us that there could be a couple more months of delay but that has not been confirmed and we have not accepted that,” explained the CEO.
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Ethiopian is expected to deploy the aircraft on its growing focus routes between Africa and Asia such as daily flights between its hub in Addis Ababa and China.
Despite fuel price hikes Ethiopian saw its annual revenue grow by 40 percent in the 2010/2011 Ethiopian fiscal year ending. The number of passengers Ethiopian carried during the fiscal year has grown by 34 percent.
Ethiopian this week announced that it has successfully completed the task of serving as an official carrier for the celebration of the Southern Sudan independence.
Ethiopian has operated several extra flights as well as charter flights in addition to the daily regular services to transport invited guests, VIPs and event participants to and from the capital, Juba. Ethiopian has also cooperated with the government of Southern Sudan on ground services to enable the Juba airport accommodate the heavy traffic during the celebration.
The arrival of the Dreamliners is expected to give Ethiopian a further edge in leading the continent’s aviation business.
Over 55 customers around the globe have ordered the 787, making the Dreamliner the fastest-selling new commercial jetliner in history. Ethiopian has ten B787s on order and is eagerly awaiting its first delivery by early 2012.
The manufacturer Boeing plans to deliver the first 787 to Japan’s carrier ANA in the August to September timeframe. Boeing and ANA completed their operation that started on July 4 for a validation of the Dreamliner’s readiness.
Last Wednesday the Dreamliner made its India debut landing at New Delhi International Airport arriving from Tokyo. Air India is one of the early customers and has ordered 27 787s and the aircraft is expected to join its fleet by the year end.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner is finally delivered