Ethiopian Airlines (EA) has become Africa’s first airline customer of the A350-1000 after it “upsized four of its A350-900 on order to the largest variant of the A350 Family,” the flag carrier announced in a press statement.
The carrier has already ordered 22 A350-900s, of which 16 aircraft have already been delivered.
“With the A350-1000 upsizing, Ethiopian Airlines’ backlog consists of four A350-1000s and two A350-900s,” the statement continued.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew commented on the announcement, highlighting that “upsizing” to the A350-1000 will allow the airline to “stay ahead of the curve in technology”.
“We are the technology leaders in the continent introducing the latest technology and fuel-efficient fleet into Africa,” Tasew added. “The A350-1000 is the best fit for our dense routes, and we believe that the upsizing will be instrumental in satisfying the increasing demand of customers in our vast global network across five continents.”
According to Mikail Houari, President, Airbus Africa and Middle East, EA is also the first airline in Africa to order and operate the A350-900. “In another first, Ethiopian Airlines is once again leading the way in Africa’s aviation sector by introducing the A350-1000, the largest version of the world’s most efficient and technologically advanced passenger aircraft,” Houari said.
The first A350-1000 was assembled in 2016 and its inaugural flight was performed on November 24, 2016. Qatar Airways was the launch operator of the variant, taking delivery of the aircraft on February 20, 2018.
According to Airbus’s latest orders and deliveries data, 164 A350-1000s have been ordered by airlines and 64 are currently in operation.
Ethiopian Airlines fleet, which is the largest in Africa, currently consists of aircraft such as the Airbus A350, Boeing 787-8, Boeing 787-9, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter and Bombardier Dash 8-400.