This one snuck up on me. Ethiopian Airlines will take delivery of its first 787 on Tuesday 14th August (next Tuesday). A crew will fly the new plane from Washington, D.C. to Addis Ababa on Thursday, August 16, 2012. The plane’s maiden flight the following weekend dubbed “The Dream Tour,” will be on August 18, 2012, with a sightseeing flight to Mount Kilimanjaro for around 270 invited guests, consisting of Ministers, Ambassadors, other VIPs, Ethiopian ShebaMiles [Frequent Flyer] Gold Members and media. Jealous!
The first Ethiopian Dreamliner conducted its first test flight on Monday, July 9, 2012. It then left the Boeing assembly plant in Seattle, Washington on Thursday, July 12, 2012 for San Antonio, Texas where it was painted in the Ethiopian Airlines livery. It has been back in Seattle for the last two weeks.
Ethiopian is the third airline to get the 787 after Japan’s ANA who were launch customer and then Japan Airlines (JAL).
The airline announced in a press release that they will put the first 787 on its African routes first — to Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe on a rotational basis — before it flies to other international destinations, such as London and Frankfurt.. See Ethiopian Airlines 787 flight listing for August 16 to 4 September, 2012.
Ethiopian has ordered ten of the 787. Five of its 787s will enter service before the end of 2012 and will be deployed on long-haul routes. For example, Addis Abba- Johannesburg daily service will commence 28 October. The carrier’s other five Dreamliners are expected in early 2014.
The Ethiopian Dreamliner seen in this video will have 270 seats in two classes. The 24 Cloud Nine business class seats are arranged 2-2-2 and the 246 Economy Class seats are arranged 3-3-3. By comparison, ANA has 216 (40 Business arranged 2/2/2 and 176 Economy arranged 2/3/3). JAL has 186 seats (42 Business arranged 2/2/2 and 144 Economy arranged 2/4/2). So Ethiopian’s Economy will be a little cosy.
- Africa (17 within Ethiopia plus Benin, Chad, Rawanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania)
- Europe (Amsterdam, Athens, Belgrade, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, London, Madrid, Moscow, Paris)
- the Americas (Toronto, Washington DC and Sao Paolo to come)
- Middle East (Beirut, Dammam, Dubai)
- Asia (Ethiopian flies to three destinations in China and yet Australia’s national carrier can only manage one plus Ethiopian airlines flies to both Pakistan and India)
Skytrax says they are a three star airline and Skytrax passengers rate them 4 out of 10. Seatplans.com gives them a rating of 6.8 out of 10. I have not flown them – yet? Next week around Kilimanjaro would be nice. Hint Hint!