The debut flight of Ethiopian Airlines' Dreamliner from Addis Ababa to Tel Aviv is only expected on October 16, after two delays. The official flight, including a special ceremony, will be held next week.
However, due to operational reasons cited by the company, the plane made its first stop in Israel on Tuesday morning.
Ethiopian Airlines' Dreamliner at Ben-Gurion Airport (Photo: Danny Sadeh)
The Ethiopian airline, considered one of the fastest growing airlines in Africa, has ordered 10 Dreamliner planes and has so far received two. Its fleet is expected to include five aircraft of this model by the end of 2012, and the remaining five are set to arrive during 2013.
Completely new business class experience (Photo: Danny Sadeh)
"We're bringing this plane to Israel as a gesture to our passengers from Israel who have faith in us and fly with us to Ethiopia and other destinations in Africa," Ethiopian Airlines' Israel Manager Asrat Begashaw said recently, adding that the plane would be used in flights from Addis Ababa to Johannesburg and China.
Japanese were first
Ethiopian Airlines currently serves as Ethiopia's flag carrier, and is wholly owned by the government. The airline was established in 1946 and has a fleet of 47 planes. Its orders consist of 42 new planes, including 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
The airline travels to 70 international destinations and is considered a popular airline among Israelis traveling to Africa and Eastern Asia.
Blue and purple lighting provides relaxed atmosphere (Photo: Danny Sadeh)
Boeing's Dreamliner has been subject to a series of delays before receiving all permits and being supplied to customers. Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) was the first company to receive the aircraft after ordering 55 Dreamliner planes in 2004.
ANA was also a key player in terms of the plane's development and design. The company is expected to receive all the planes it ordered by 2018.
Dreamliner's cockpit (Photo: Danny Sadeh)
The modern plane is built from composite materials, which significantly reduce its weight, allowing it to cover routes of 6,500 to 16,000 kilometers and making it 20% more fuel-efficient compared to the Boeing 767 it replaced.
The Dreamliner seats 200 to 300 passengers, features two engines of either Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or General Electric GEnx, and was built with a "green" vision, allowing for significant lower air pollution than other aircraft.
Moreover, the plane is particularly quiet compared to other aircraft, allowing it to take off from airports which are usually closed at night for noisier planes.
Economy class upgraded too (Photo: Danny Sadeh)
Several years ago El Al Israel Airlines ordered two Boeing 787 planes, which were set to be supplied next year. But due to liquidity problems and other issues, the company decided to give up the option to purchase the aircraft.
Had the company not canceled its order, it may have received the planes in about two years. If El Al were to submit a new order at some point, it would likely receive the planes at the beginning of the next decade due to the long waiting list.
Arkia Israel Airlines ordered two Dreamliner aircraft several years ago as well, as part of its plan to operate long-haul flights. Arkia was slated to receive the planes in 2012, but due to the delays in the aircraft's production, they will only be supplied in 2015 or 2016.
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