Ethiopian Airlines new aircraft B787 Dreamliner
Ethiopian Airlines is the first African carrier to own the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft, loaded with all the latest features in technology and comfort, has landed in Ethiopia.
The aircraft is named “Africa First”. The Boeing 787 arrived from Washington this week and was welcomed by many high government officials, diplomats and business executives. Ethiopian Airlines is first outside Japan to receive the aircraft.
The flag carrier of Ethiopia made history by taking delivery of the Dreamliner, says Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam:
"This is a game changer. This is going to open a new era in air travel. It is a very inspiring technology for Africans. This signifies and shows the world that Africa is leading in aviation technology," Tewolde said.
Manufacturer Boeing delayed delivery by several years because of failures during the test phase. Ethiopian Airlines confirmed it received compensation for the delay, but did not disclose the amount of the payment.
The new plane is seen as the latest in aviation technology according to Boeing's vice-president for sales and marketing, Ihssane Mounir.
"In its category it is 20 percent more efficient on fuel burn, on maintenance costs it is more than 40 percent more efficient. And you also have new technology on the airplane that [eliminates] the turbulence so the airplane has a much, much quieter ride," Mounir said.
Ethiopian Airlines needed to purchase the airplane to live up to government targets set in the official Growth and Transformation Plan. Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hailemariam Desalegne says there are high expectations for the airline.
"We also expect from the airlines to excel much more than this moment. And my people and my government is expecting to see that Ethiopian Airlines is one of the best airlines in the world, not only in Africa," Hailemariam said.
Ethiopian Airlines is Africa's fastest growing airline. The carrier is due to receive its next Dreamliner in September, followed by eight more during the next two years.