The 787 heads to Ethiopia

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).

a plane is flying in the sky

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.


an airplane in a hangar

Government owned Ethiopian Airlines (Star Alliance member since 2011) is a profitable carrier with  66 destinations:

  • 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)
Ethiopian is very interested in Singapore as Ethiopian’s Asian hub. Meanwhile, what is Qantas doing?

Skytrax says they are a three star airline and Skytrax passengers rate them 4 out of 10. 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!

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  1. Flying Ethiopian Air is cozy to say the least and traveling Addis Ababa is quite the experience. I flew Ethiopian, FCO-ADD-LOS-ADD-FCO, last year and it was one of the most unique flying experiences to date.

  2. Man where do I start? I worked in djibouti from 2008 ’til 2011 it’s a 45 min flight from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia’s capital and main hub) so regularly I had to use their service and it was NOT nice @ all! Constant delays, airport total chaos, not to mention what happens when they cancel a flight and you need to stay overnight (awful) working in this part of the world you can ‘t really criticise other culture’s notion for cleanliness or interaction but I’ll just say I’d take a 1 maybe 3 hour flight with them but NO MAS! I can’t even begin to imagine the ultra long haul from addis to washington stuck inside one of their planes.
    Positive side: Well they fly everywhere -literally- in Africa so if you wanted to see the continent they’re the choice, their staff is actually friendly and can’t complain about their crews flight-skills so far, airline personnel at addis will help you for a little while until it’s something boss-required and then he/she will literally tell you to suck it up or buy another ticket. Comfortwise the not so old 737-700 and 800s they use for regional flights are not bad at all plus they received some 777-200LRs a couple years back and yes they’re FAR better than the aging (ultra uncomfortable) 767s they use for routes like FCO, FRA, CDG and others.
    I sure hope they do better with the new 787s pics look great I dunno’ maybe I’ll have to use their service again someday we’ll see.

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