By Nhlanhla Dube
Ethiopian Airlines is set to introduce a regular Boeing 787 Dreamliner direct flight to Harare from Addis Ababa which bypasses Lusaka, Mrs Almaz Yigzaw Ethiopian Country Manger said.
“We have two types of schedules; one the plane will come directly from Addis to Harare then it goes to Zambia then Addis Ababa, on other days it comes from Addis to Harare then from Harare direct to Addis,” she said.
This was said during a tour of the Dreamliner by travel agents at the Harare International Airport. The aim of the tour was to give travel agents a feel of the plane to help them promote it when they are asked by passengers. Ethiopian Airlines was the first airline in Africa to operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s biggest airline.
It operates a daily Dreamliner flight to Harare and it can also use the Boeing 777 if there is excess demand.
Mrs Almaz Yigzaw added that the Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner has been popular on the Addis Ababa, Lusaka to Harare route.
“Passengers enjoy the 787 and they demand that we schedule it because it has special features. It is a 235-seater and it consumes 20 percent less fuel than other airlines of the same size,” she said.
Boeing experienced some teething problems with the Dreamliner’s batteries that resulted in the entire 787 fleet being grounded. The problems were solved and the plane is now safe said Mrs Almaz Yigzaw.
“There was a problem but the problem was investigated and solved and the plane has been approved by the American FAA and now there is no problem. Zimbabweans should come and experience the 787,” she said.
Ethiopian Airlines currently operates nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners and it is expecting another six to be delivered.
The total Ethiopian Airlines fleet stands at 66 and it currently carries 6 million passengers.
“The company expects revenue to reach, $1 billion by 2025 and that the number of international destinations it flies to will increase from 82 to 140.
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