Ethiopian Airlines was set to take in Africa’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner by next month but they will have to wait another six months to take delivery of the aircraft, Capital learnt. “The B-787 has a further delay and it is now expected in June 2012,” Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tewolde Gebremariam told Capital.
Ethiopian has ten B787s on order and is eagerly awaiting its first delivery. By early 2012 the flag carrier was 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.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes and it seats 210 to 290 passengers. The 787 consumes 20% less fuel than the similarly-sized Boeing 767.
According to Boeing, more than 55 customers around the world have ordered the 787, making the Dreamliner the fastest-selling new commercial jetliner in history. Boeing states that it is the company’s most fuel-efficient airliner and the world’s first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction.
Though Ethiopian is now forced to wait another six month to own and operate the Boeing made Dreamliners, the aircraft will showcase itself in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in few days as part of a global tour.
The manufacturer Boeing soon will embark on a six-month “Dream Tour” with its all-new 787 Dreamliner. “Customers and partners around the world will experience the revolutionary technology and passenger innovation offered on the first new airplane of the 21st century,” Boeing said in a statement.
The December schedule for the 787 Dream Tour includes six stops in Asia, Africa and the Middle East:
Between December 11 and 16, the aircraft is scheduled to be in Africa with stops including Addis Ababa.
The 787 Dreamliner stop in Addis Ababa would be at the same time the Star Alliance member airline CEOs meet in the city.
The Dreamliner is scheduled to arrive on December 12 and return on December 14. Ethiopian is going to officially become a member of Star Alliance in a ceremony expected to be attended by the 27 member airline CEO’s and other aviation officials from around the world on December 13.
Ethiopian currently operates 48 aircraft while it has 35 aircraft on order. The carrier flies to 62 international and 17 domestic destinations. The flag carrier ranks number one in the continent where 40 of its international destinations are placed. The carrier received last month another accolade from the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) for being consistently profitable over the years and recording the best financial results in 2010.