Ethiopian Airlines to launch Airbus A350-1000 in Africa

By Jeune Afrique

Posted on Wednesday, 3 August 2022 15:41
Ethiopian Airlines, the continent's largest airline, is expecting four A350-1000s ©Airbus

Already a pioneer of the A350 on the continent, the Ethiopian flagship carrier has just opted for its latest – and largest – model, the A350-1000, of which it is to receive four.

On 29 June 2016, the very first operational Airbus A350 in Africa, an A350-900, landed in Addis Ababa, the hub of Ethiopian Airlines, at that point Boeing’s exclusive customer for its wide-body aircraft on the continent. Six years later, the model seems to have convinced the airline, which is flying 16 of these aircraft and waiting for six more.

But on 28 July this year, the continent’s leading airline announced that it had modified its order, replacing four of the A350-900s with a superior model, the A350-1000. Again, this will be a first on the continent.

The objective, explained Ethiopian Airlines CEO Mesfin Tasew in a press release, is to “remain at the cutting edge of technology”, and “satisfy customers’ growing demand” by offering more capacity and making its fleet “fuel-efficient”.

More than 400 passengers

“The A350-900 has offered extraordinary capacity, fuel efficiency and operational reliability of 99.5%, as well as unbeatable operational flexibility and efficiency in both short- and ultra-long-range operations [and the A350-1000 is] the most efficient and technologically advanced passenger aircraft in the world,” added Airbus Africa and Middle East president Mikail Houari in the same statement.

Ethiopian Airlines, which does not offer first class, has configured its A350-900 aircraft to accommodate 348 passengers (including 30 in business class). With the additional 7 metres of cabin space offered by the A350-1000, the aircraft will be able to accommodate an additional 70 passengers on trips to international destinations – the A350s currently serve Dubai, Beirut, London, Paris and Tel Aviv, among other cities.

Cargo, where Ethiopian is also the leader in Africa, is not left out, as the A350-1000 can hold up to 44 LD3 containers in the hold, compared to 36 for the original model.

“The Airbus A350’s sleek design features state-of-the-art aerodynamics, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, and the most fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Together, these latest technologies result in unprecedented levels of operational efficiency and sustainability for Ethiopian Airlines, with a 25% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions compared to the previous generation twin-aisle aircraft,”  the release said.

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