Ethiopian Airlines to receive Airbus A350-900 by 2017

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The European aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, on Tuesday said that Addis Ababa will be a mega city in the next twenty years. Mega cities are those that have more than 10,000 long haul air passengers every day. At a press briefing held at the Sheraton Addis on Tuesday, Alan Pardoe, Airbus  head of marketing communications, said currently there are 39 mega cities in the world, adding that this number would increase to 90 in the coming twenty years. Pardoe said Ethiopia will join this group within twenty years.

“Countries which have mega cities need very large aircraft like Airbus A380. Ethiopia, too, may need A380 in the coming 20 years. However, as Ethiopian airlines is growing fast it needs more new aircraft,” Pardoe said.

According to Airbus, its new product A350XWB is on the right track. The A350, which is currently in the manufacturing line, is expected to roll out of the final assembly line in Toulouse this year and would fly early next year. First deliveries are slated for 2014. Ethiopian Airlines has placed firm orders for 12 A350-900 aircraft. Pardoe said Airbus will start delivering the first A350s to Ethiopian in 2017.

As Ethiopian Airlines is expanding its international routes substantially, it is looking for new middle-range and long- haul aircraft. Unfortunately, it seems that both Airbus and Boeing have sold out all their aircraft and they do not have readily available aircraft. At present, Ethiopian is contemplating to order for more long-haul aircraft and it is evaluating the Airbus A330 and the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

Airlines in Africa and the Indian Ocean region are forecast to require 1,101 new aircraft with a value of 126 billion dollars by 2030, according to Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast. This includes 790 single aisle aircraft such as the A230 Family, 273 twin aisles such as the A350 XWB and the long range A330/A340 Family, and 38 very large aircraft such as the A380.

Driven by tourism, an expanding middle-class, increased urbanisation, business relationships with developing nations, and further opportunities from market liberalisation and low cost, Airbus forecasts that Africa overall will average annual passenger growth rates of 5.7 per cent. This figure is well above the 4.8 per cent world average growth rate and far outstrips more developed markets such as North America and Western Europe.

“Africa used to rely on river and road transport, but today aviation is essential for development, and will increasingly become the 21st Century’s answer to connect people in the region with each other and the rest of the world,” said Alan Pardoe, Airbus Head of Marketing Communications. “Air travel in Africa is predicted to increase by 5.7 per cent per year and Airbus has the most innovative and eco-efficient aircraft family available to satisfy the needs of airlines and the expectations of passengers now and in the years to come.”

About Airbus

Airbus is the world’s leading commercial aircraft manufacturer producing the most modern and efficient airliners from 100 seats to over 500. Airbus achieved record order and delivery numbers in 2011, delivering 534 commercial aircraft and booking 1,419 net orders, making it the most successful year in the company’s history. Airbus recruited 4,500 new employees last year and 4,000 more are targeted for 2012. This is driven by an order backlog equivalent to 7-8 years production and the continued development of aircraft programs such as A320 Neo (new engine option), and the A350 XWB Family. Airbus has sold close to 11,500 aircraft and delivered over 7,000 since its first airliner entered service.

Source: The Reporter

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