Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, has become the first African carrier to purchase Airbus’ flagship A350-1000 aircraft.
Yesterday, the carrier confirmed that it has upsized four of its A350-900s that were currently on order to the larger -1000 variant.
Ethiopian making history on a Thursday with A350 purchase
Ethiopian Airlines announced on Thursday that it has become Africa’s first customer of Airbus’ A350-1000 aircraft.
The carrier has made somewhat of a habit out of debuting Airbus aircraft on the continent. In June 2016, received the A350-900. It was therefore the first to operate the A350-900 in Africa.
Today, the carrier owns 16 of the A350-900s out of a total of 121 passenger aircraft. It is also planning to receive two more of the A350-900s to complete its order of 22. Once doing so, the airline will become the joint sixth-largest operator of the A350-900 alongside Air France and Air China.
The A350-900 is one of Airbus’ best – if I do say so myself. The aircraft comes with an operational reliability of 99.5% and boasts a useful breadth of efficiency and operational flexibility.
But the highlight of Ethiopian Airlines’ more recent order is of course the A350-1000.
The A350-1000 is the largest variant of the A350 family, measuring 74 meters in length. It will be a welcome addition to the Addis Ababa-based carrier by boosting the capacity on offer from its fleet. Especially as it continues its strong recovery following the pandemic.
It is also a very efficient aircraft that offers a 25% reduction in fuel-burn and CO2 emissions compared to previous twin-aisle aircraft thanks to its carbon-fibre fuselage, wings and fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.
What is certain is that the Star Alliance carrier will be welcoming 4 of the A350-1000. As for when – that’s yet to be determined. The European manufacturer has yet to provide a timeframe for the deliveries.
Airbus’ President for Africa and the Middle East, Mikail Houari, celebrated the agreement and what Ethiopian Airlines achieved as a result:
“We are proud of our strong partnership with Ethiopian Airlines – the first airline in Africa to order and operate the A350-900. In another first, Ethiopian Airlines is once again leading the way in Africa’s aviation sector by introducing the A350-1000, the largest version of the world’s most efficient and technologically advanced passenger aircraft.”
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Mesfin Tasew, was delighted with the progress the airline has made in regard to its fleet:
“We are delighted over the upsizing of the A350-900 on order to the largest variant, A350-1000, that helps us stay ahead of the curve in technology. We are the technology leaders in the continent introducing the latest technology and fuel-efficient fleet into Africa. The A350-1000 is the best fit for our dense routes, and we believe that the upsizing will be instrumental in satisfying the increasing demand of customers in our vast global network across five continents.”
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