berari
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Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:35 am

We read big news yesterday that Ethiopian ordered an additional 10 A350sm bringing its total of the type to 24. I find it quite intriguing, especially given the growth potential that it doesn't have if we were to compare it to the ME3s. The airline also firmed up 10 737-8 MAXs, added two 777 freighters and more Q400s to its books. It is said to be evaluating regional jets (ERJ and C-Series.)

On order are the following:
1x 788
2x 789
30x 737-8MAX
20 A350
2x 77F
5x Q400s

Already in the fleet and active are the following:
4x A350 (at least three are leased)
18x 788 (mix of leased and owned, including all-leased teens)
4x 77W (all leased)
6x 77L (all owned)
6x 77F (at least four are leased)
6x 763 (some leased, some owned)
2x 75F
19 Q400

Routes, expansion and service wise:
- Ethiopian has already spread its wings far and thin, sometimes to destinations and frequencies that don't make sense for the primary African market that it serves: Chengdu, Manila, Madrid, Oslo, Singapore (Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh are to start in the near future.)
- Growth in the future will come through further expansion but also (more likely) through increased frequency: we have heard the CEO mention he'd like to fly to LHR twice a day; we have seen service to Guangzhou go double daily at times with an afternoon bank at ADD; we have in the last year seen an increase in regional service that also coincides with afternoon bank as well as overnight services to African destinations such as CPT, JNB, HRE, LUN
- Frequency increase is likely to bear fruit on the African continent, and would be supported by the large 737-8MAX order
- Ethiopian is no ME3 nor Turkish in terms of services level and hard product, and ability to expand. Nor does it have the high yield traffic that these successful airlines have access to
- Substatial future growth has to come hand in hand with a new airport at Addis Ababa which is at least 7 years away; it is currently expanding ADD to address over capacity

Fleet wise:
- Ethiopian's wide bodies have seating for 220 (763,) 271 (788,) 321 (77L,) 343 (A350) and 399 (77W) passengers
- With the A350 top up order of 10 additional frames, it's hard to fathom ET's ability to employ 24 A350s all at once without seeing something else change: either more rapid growth, use of aircraft with its subsidiaries, or the upgrade of existing fleet
- Of the wide body fleet, next to the 767s, the 77Ls which are owned and next in line to be replaced over the next 5-7 years if age is solely used as a factor
- In an interview with the recent A350 top up order, the CEO is on record to say that the aircraft will be used on service to Washington, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Seoul, all current 77L/77W destinations.

Observations:
- Not much talk about the 777X as of late, and if the A350 is truly performing well for ET, it may be just the right aircraft for it
- The A350 is nestled well between the 77L and 77W in terms of passenger capacity. Unsure about belly hold. I am not knowledgeable about its performance even given ADD's challenges, but ET is aiming to deploy it on routes where the 77s have been ruling. The CEO is on record to say that "it [the A350] is doing very well" as it relates to performance at ADD
- With the A350 announcement, the CEO is heard loud and clear that ET has purchased from Europe, which is Ethiopia's largest trading partner. This in itself is a strong statement which we have not heard before
- We do not know what Boeing product the A350 was pitted against, but if it was the 789, this may have sealed its fate for ET - we shall see what happens to the two 789s on order (they are to be leased in from AerCap)

Questions:
- Could these ten A350 frames translate to the replacement of the 6 77Ls and 4 77Ws, while we will see the additional 10 frames on order used for growth opportunities?
- Will ET still find room for regional jets especially given its substatial order for 737-8 MAXs?
- Does ET's addition of Q400s spell its intent to not go with something like the C-Series?
- What's the state of the US EXIM bank and does it have a competitor in Europe? In the past few years, there was lots of talk about the EXIM bank being shut down and airlines overseas being unable to take delivery of aircraft for their financing was to be backed by EXIM
 
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Balerit
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:07 am

I see they jumped from 76 to 48 in the latest Skytrax Top 100 airline awards.
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Boeing778X
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:11 am

I think a few of us were totally expecting the 777-8 to be selected. ADD is hot and high.

They could eventually, IMHO.
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Kickert
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:36 am

Ethiopia has strong ties with the Chinese and it seems they are really investing in that connection. I see some European expansion as being tied to actually connecting China to Europe.

As for their fleet, it seems all over the place. I regularly fly between JNB and ADD and have been on 767, 772, 773, 787 and a350.
 
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gatibosgru
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:47 am

I think the A350 fits perfectly into their network. Glad it has performed well enough for a top up order.
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kriskim
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:52 am

ET is looking at ADD-MEL and talks have already begun for launching such service. So that might take 1-2 frames from expansion.
A world built upon connectivity.
 
smi0006
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:19 am

kriskim wrote:
ET is looking at ADD-MEL and talks have already begun for launching such service. So that might take 1-2 frames from expansion.

That's a surprising route, but could make sense. Interesting to see. Melbourne airport is certainly keen to bring in new entrants, so I'm sure they will be offering a ripper of a deal!

2x789 seems a small odd fleet?

I imagine the 787s are replacing the 767s?

They do seem to have a complicated fleet- time to simplify the long haul fleet? 788 Africa and thin long haul, A350 Asia and Europe, with heavier African routes between sectors, and 77W/779 for heavier routes to US/LHR?

Or does ADD justify a complex fleet due to unique geography and African flying conditions?
 
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:58 am

Rumor is that ET is taking a close look at A350-1000 as well.
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scbriml
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:05 am

Boeing778X wrote:
I think a few of us were totally expecting the 777-8 to be selected. ADD is hot and high.


The A350 is an excellent hot & high performer. I understand the new airport for Addis will be at a much lower altitude than ADD, so it will be less of an issue for them in the future.

Asiaflyer wrote:
Rumor is that ET is taking a close look at A350-1000 as well.


I wouldn't be at all surprised.
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sadiqutp
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:06 am

Asiaflyer wrote:
Rumor is that ET is taking a close look at A350-1000 as well.


Chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam, speaking at the Paris air show as he confirmed an agreement to take 10 more A350-900s, said the airline was still examining the -1000's capabilities.

He points out that Ethiopian is in the "unique situation" at Addis Ababa, some 2,400m above sea level. The city typically reaches its highest temperatures, up to 25C, around March-May.

"We have to see how [the -1000] performs at that altitude," says Gebremariam.


Unless their plan is to get rid of the leased 77Ws, this just adds more to the complexity of their fleet
 
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Richard28
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:59 am

sadiqutp wrote:
Unless their plan is to get rid of the leased 77Ws, this just adds more to the complexity of their fleet


The OP states that the 4 x 77W's are all leased, so this would not seem unreasonable for them to do add A35K's when the leases expire and simplify their fleet.

When are the leases up on these 77Ws?
 
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scbriml
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:39 am

Richard28 wrote:
The OP states that the 4 x 77W's are all leased, so this would not seem unreasonable for them to do add A35K's when the leases expire and simplify their fleet.


It would seem to me that ET is in the process of simplifying their fleet, with the long-term aim being replacing the 767 fleet with 787s and replacing the 777 fleet with A350s.
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nadavatar64
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:46 am

kriskim wrote:
ET is looking at ADD-MEL and talks have already begun for launching such service. So that might take 1-2 frames from expansion.


Is there a plane that is capable of performing that route nonstop?
 
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sq421
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:16 am

nadavatar64 wrote:
kriskim wrote:
ET is looking at ADD-MEL and talks have already begun for launching such service. So that might take 1-2 frames from expansion.


Is there a plane that is capable of performing that route nonstop?


I think with a distance of 7,475 miles, A350 would have the legs

Source: http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=ADD-MEL
 
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scbriml
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:28 am

nadavatar64 wrote:
kriskim wrote:
ET is looking at ADD-MEL and talks have already begun for launching such service. So that might take 1-2 frames from expansion.


Is there a plane that is capable of performing that route nonstop?


A great circle distance of just under 6,500nm? Most of their long-haul fleet should be capable, even given the challenges of ADD. Plus there's not many places to stop on the way!

Image
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KarelXWB
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:50 am

scbriml wrote:
A great circle distance of just under 6,500nm? Most of their long-haul fleet should be capable, even given the challenges of ADD. Plus there's not many places to stop on the way!


We need to factor in ISA conditions, the high altitude of ADD eats into the payload capabilities of the aircraft.

ADD is 7,656 ft above sea level, runway length is some 12,000 ft. Looking at the ACAP chart below, the A350-900 is limited at ~ 265t MTOW.

Image

ISA + 15°C makes it even worse, now the A350-900 is limited at ~ 255t MTOW.

Temperatures today in ADD are 25°C, so we are further down to ~ 250t MTOW or so.

Image

Reduced MTOW means range capabilities are down as well.

Still much better than an A330 though.
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StTim
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:54 am

How does it compare to the 777's they have?
 
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KarelXWB
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:09 am

StTim wrote:
How does it compare to the 777's they have?


Default ISA, the 77W is down to ~ 310t MTOW.

Image

ISA + 15°C, the 77W is down to ~ 290t MTOW.

Image

ISA + 25°C, the 77W is down to ~280t MTOW.

Image

In hot & high, it looks like the 77W sacrifices more payload capabilities than the A350-900.
What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived.
 
StTim
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:28 am

Thanks KarelXWB - Interesting comparison.
 
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Polot
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:42 am

KarolXWB wrote:

In hot & high, it looks like the 77W sacrifices more payload capabilities than the A350-900.

Not too surprising though since the 77W is a stretch with the same wing as the smaller version. Looking at the ACAP it appears that the 77L will have less of a performance hit (unsure if ET's have the 110 or 115 GEs).
 
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scbriml
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:58 am

KarelXWB wrote:
We need to factor in ISA conditions, the high altitude of ADD eats into the payload capabilities of the aircraft.


Yes, of course. I wasn't suggesting there was no impact given ADD's circumstances. However, most of ET's long-haul fleet should be able to do ADD-MEL (with payload restrictions).
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Armodeen
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:06 pm

I suppose it all depends on what altitude the new Addis Ababa airport is at. If it is indeed lower as rumoured up thread, then it would make sense to prepare for the future fleet requirements, rather than order as per the conditions found today.
 
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:34 pm

I'm surprised that ET haven't announced Manchester and Munich as new destinations and also the resumption of Amsterdam.
 
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:52 pm

scbriml wrote:
Richard28 wrote:
The OP states that the 4 x 77W's are all leased, so this would not seem unreasonable for them to do add A35K's when the leases expire and simplify their fleet.


It would seem to me that ET is in the process of simplifying their fleet, with the long-term aim being replacing the 767 fleet with 787s and replacing the 777 fleet with A350s.

Perhaps the 77W is not best suited for ADD, but ET also has 77L's and 77F's (and just ordered 2 more).
I'm not perfectly sure the A350 can replace the 77L performance-wise, not to mention the 77F. So I presume fleet simplification by removing the 777 fleet is not as simple.
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berari
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:22 pm

frigatebird wrote:
scbriml wrote:
Richard28 wrote:
The OP states that the 4 x 77W's are all leased, so this would not seem unreasonable for them to do add A35K's when the leases expire and simplify their fleet.


It would seem to me that ET is in the process of simplifying their fleet, with the long-term aim being replacing the 767 fleet with 787s and replacing the 777 fleet with A350s.

Perhaps the 77W is not best suited for ADD, but ET also has 77L's and 77F's (and just ordered 2 more).
I'm not perfectly sure the A350 can replace the 77L performance-wise, not to mention the 77F. So I presume fleet simplification by removing the 777 fleet is not as simple.


It may not be as simple, but the story is that they are looking to place the A350 on routes currently served by the 77L - so the writing may already be on the wall. Also, are they using the 77L to its full potential today?
 
berari
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:29 pm

Cunard wrote:
I'm surprised that ET haven't announced Manchester and Munich as new destinations and also the resumption of Amsterdam.


Don't know how well Amsterdam and Manchester would do - no connectivity beyond, ET seems to focus on Star Alliance member hubs. Amsterdam was served once, KLM also dropped ADD a few years ago. Munich was loaded a few years ago then removed from schedules, I recall seeing ADD-MUC-ARN, which then became ADD-VIE-ARN (ARN is now served nonstop.)
 
Amexair
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:24 am

- Ethiopian is no ME3 nor Turkish in terms of services level and hard product, and ability to expand. Nor does it have the high yield traffic that these successful airlines have access to



I think many people do sometimes compare ET with Turkish but do agree it still has a long way to go in terms of services and product especially with the ME3. However, I don't think the ability to expand is a problem. I think you're forgetting the vast opportunity that the African Continent commands. Ethiopian is gearing and position itself to take a piece of the pie it so willfully deserves. The growth in the Far East, particularly in China is helping boost Trade and Commerce between those two regions and most African countries now enjoying tremendous economic growth and a huge growing population and middle class. Ethiopian is continually serving as a great gateway between the Far East and Africa.

Not to mention, as the CEO said, 80% of the African market is currently being served by Non-African Carriers, which in itself represents a huge opportunity for future growth.
 
ETinCaribe
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:56 am

berari wrote:
Questions:
- Could these ten A350 frames translate to the replacement of the 6 77Ls and 4 77Ws, while we will see the additional 10 frames on order used for growth opportunities?
- Will ET still find room for regional jets especially given its substatial order for 737-8 MAXs?
- Does ET's addition of Q400s spell its intent to not go with something like the C-Series?
- What's the state of the US EXIM bank and does it have a competitor in Europe? In the past few years, there was lots of talk about the EXIM bank being shut down and airlines overseas being unable to take delivery of aircraft for their financing was to be backed by EXIM


Selam Berari, I think you are right, if the A350-1000 works out as a 77L replacement, that may be the way ET will go, as also mentioned up thread - LH combo of 787 and A350 longterm. As for the C-Series, it may still make sense, as ET will not have anything in b/w a 60 seater Q400 and MAX8 with some 160 seats. Perhaps going with Airbus for NB would have been better, giving them more flexibility in plane sizes.

With EXIM, the new airport in ADD, price of oil, economic growth in Africa, etc, most are outside of ET's control but none stop them from making bold investments in the company and its future. To focus on the future airport, it will be at around 1700m, but I highly doubt it will come online before 2030 or even 2035. (ADD expansion completion is about a year out as it is) Till then, ET has to make ADD work for some 150 a/c and continue leaving millions of $$$ on runway at ADD.
 
ubeema
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:33 am

Amexair wrote:
Not to mention, as the CEO said, 80% of the African market is currently being served by Non-African Carriers, which in itself represents a huge opportunity for future growth.

You hit it on the nail. ETH is de facto "African" Airlines and supports the new trends of businesses and entrepreneurs going to Asia and India. With major EU airlines choking under LCC competition (TK excluded), ET's African market share can only go up. I'm glad to see one of the most modern airlines in Africa and hope they keep up the good work.
 
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Kickert
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:32 am

ET has great planes, and it seems with the current and expected investments, that is only going to improve. The problem is that the further you get away from those planes the bigger the problems. ADD has some major issues and isn't even close to being on par with other major hubs in the area. Theoretically the new expansion should help, but the problems aren't primary to due with building, but with upkeep and systems. Addis is able to host major international bodies like the African Union, but the city itself has major limitations and drawbacks. Then there is the country of Ethiopia -- it has been under a state of emergency since October, and the US State Department still has a strongly worded travel advisory. The country regularly shuts off communication channels to the entire nation without regard for the larger impacts.

For me, ET has always been a fascinating amalgamation of the very nice (brand new a350s!) and the comically poor (water pouring through the roof of ADD when it rains). If you are using ET to transit to/from other developing areas, then this isn't an issue at all; but if you are comparing them to the ME3 or SAA, then you see they are quite different.

In the end, I think the fleet of ET is the most exciting thing they have going for them.
 
ETinCaribe
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:16 pm

Kickert wrote:
The problem is that the further you get away from those planes the bigger the problems. ADD has some major issues and isn't even close to being on par with other major hubs in the area. Theoretically the new expansion should help, but the problems aren't primary to due with building, but with upkeep and systems.

This is 100% true and showcases why ET's achievements are even more impressive. ET's success are for the most part IN SPITE of ADD, Ethiopia and other factors and not due to them. Perhaps the only pros they get from their country is that management is mostly independent from operational interference from government and they get to tap into a cheap labor market (which also has its downsides, like having to invest more in training and development).

Re: the range of the new planes for going west to north America w/o a stopover in Europe will be interesting to know. I think the CEO had mentioned in the past that may never be a possibility.

Another point not yet raised is re: ET's affiliates like ASKY and Malawian. I don't know much about the latter which is probably a mistake but the former may be viable in the long run. ET is also in discussions with multiple African countries, including DRC, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia on various levels of cooperation, from management contract to equity stake/JV. Depending on how these agreements evolve, ET could see wet leasing some of its mainline a/c to these operators. Now the ET is an Airbus customer, resistance may subside, but one option that may make sense is to have, if allowed by regulators, is to do ADD-CDG-LFW-CDG-ADD instead of parking the plane in CDG (which they don't but this is an example). Would that work or even be allowed by the EU? I would expect AF and others to fight it vigorously. Any thoughts?

I would also think creating a model similar to LAN/LATAM in Latin America with a single brand across multiple countries could be a good way to leverage cross borders while maintaining a few national flavors to placate any nationalistic pushes. For instance, have ASKY Togo, ASKY DRC, ASKY Nigeria, etc. where the entities would share many functions: ops, marketing, back office, and even aircrafts, etc. The entities could be legally separate from one another for ownership and regulatory reasons. Would this... fly?
 
dkny
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:38 am

Their website has been showing 4 787-9 on order
https://www.ethiopianairlines.com/corpo ... -us/fleets

I wounder which North American destionation will see the 350 first.
 
berari
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Re: Ethiopian Airlines' order of A350s and its future fleet+growth

Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:42 pm

dkny wrote:
Their website has been showing 4 787-9 on order
https://www.ethiopianairlines.com/corpo ... -us/fleets

I wounder which North American destionation will see the 350 first.


Their website has been the most non-current source of information, from fleet to destinations to consistency across the entire company. It also shows that they have two 787-8s on order, when we know that there's only one Terrible Teen left for them to take (the Teens were the last set of 78s they committed to.) I also don't know what the 789s would give them that the 350s and 77Ls don't give them today: they'd likely have around 300-320 seats.

As far as North American destination, if we are to solely compare by seats, I'd expect IAD to get it for it is the most 77L-served destination, and see YYZ upgraded to A350s at peak season. EWR and LAX have been 788-only destinations and will likely remain that way for a while.

It's worth noting that ET has made inroads into LHR over the last few years. As late as 5 years ago, ET was flying in 763s and 752s into LHR, sometimes with intermediate stops in FCO. Now it operates daily nonstop using the A350, its first A350-dedicated destination.

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