The second batch of Canadian firm Bombardier made Q400 NextGen airplanes are set to be delivered to the Ethiopian Airlines starting the last quarter of 2012.
The five remaining planes have been upgraded with seven business class seats, bigger baggage compartments, two lavatories, spacious overhead and an oven for hot meals.
Esete Yeshitla, acting Public Relations and Publications Manager at Ethiopian said the airplanes are expected to arrive between September – December of 2012. She also said the deal to purchase the five Q400 NextGen airplanes comes with a package deal which includes training, maintenance and flight simulator.
It’s reported that two of the five aircrafts will be operated by Ethiopian Airlines and three by its affiliate, ASKY Airlines of Togo in which Ethiopian has a 25 percent share.
Michele Levesque, the Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia said that the first eight Ethiopian Airlines Bombardier planes were purchased and delivered about two years ago.
“I was in Toronto and had the opportunity to visit a Bombardier plant and I got to see the partially completed planes, I was told the first five will be delivered by the end of the year,” Michele told Capital.
Ethiopian has already acquired eight Q400 NextGen airliners after signing a contract with Bombardier on November 14, 2008, receiving the first batch on March 21, 2010. It operates the aircrafts for local and regional flights.
Michele noted that she hopes that this type of business relationship continues, because the Bombardier planes are very much adapted to a big country like Ethiopia and Ethiopian Airlines needs in terms of the region and also in terms of traveling inside Ethiopia.
She also said she hopes that a new relationship can be built with Ethiopian Airlines and other private and government agencies to do much more.
Another Canadian company CAE Incorporated, formerly known as Canadian Aviation Electronics, had previously built and sold a flight simulator to the Ethiopian Airlines for the training of pilots.
CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebre Mariam had said earlier in the year, after the purchase of the second batch of Q400 Bombardier airplanes, that the planes have fully met the expectations for economic, performance and passenger acceptance.
Flights to Hargeisa resume
Ethiopian Airlines announced it is resuming flights to Hargeisa, capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland by next Sunday June 10, 2012. Ethiopian will operate daily flights to Hargeisa using its Q400 aircraft, with three morning and four afternoon flights.
In November 2008, after the previous month’s suicide bombing when Al-Shabab militants attacked the Somaliland Presidential Palace, the Ethiopian Consulate and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) offices, Ethiopian Airlines stopped flying there.
Esete said in addition to Ethiopian getting safety guarantees for the resumption of flights, Hargeisa’s airport facility has been renovated to cope with such type of traffic.
Since the suspension of the flights travelers between Addis Ababa and Hargeisa have been using bus services operating from Addis Ababa to Hargeisa through Jijiga and back.
Ethiopian says the resumption of air links between Addis Ababa and Hargeisa, will improve trade and personal relationships while enabling international travelers from the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas much more convenient and easy access to Somalia.