Airbus A350 to conduct demo flight in Addis Wednesday

The new jetliner made by the European consortium Airbus A350-900 aircraft will conduct a demonstration flight on Wednesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Airlines ordered 14 Airbus A350-900 aircraft – also known as extra wide body (XWB) – to be delivered between 2016-2019, reports said on Monday

.Officials of Ethiopian Airlines told reporters that the state-of-the-art jetliner will take off from the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and conduct a one hour demonstration flight, having on board executives of the airline, board members of the airline, officials of the Ministry of Transport, the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise.

The aircraft will be flown by test pilots of Airbus. An Airbus marketing and technical team led by Francois Cognard, vice president of sales for Middle East and North Africa, is also expected to make a briefing.

A350-900 is Airbus’ new product that made its maiden flight in June 2013. Powered by the Rolls Royce Trent Engines, the Airbus A350-900 is known for its spacious cabin.

The new jetliner will be a rival of the Boeing B787 Dreamliner aircraft. The A350 family has 800, 900 and 1000 versions with 250-350 seats. Ethiopian’s A350-900 will have 346 seats.

The A350XWB aircraft was certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Qatar Airways is the launch customer of the new jetliner. Ethiopian Airlines is the first carrier from Sub Saharan Africa to acquire the A350 aircraft.

The management of Ethiopian Airlines placed firm orders for the purchase of 12 Airbus A350-900 aircraft in 2009. The order was confirmed at the 2009 Dubai Air show. The total listed price of the 12 A350s is $2.9 billion.

Ethiopian has leased two more A350s that will arrive in Addis Ababa in May and June next year. Ethiopian, which is a reliable customer of Boeing for over six decades, ordered Airbus aircraft for the first time.

The national flag carrier operates an all-Boeing long-haul fleet. The airline operates 73 aircraft including 13 Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner aircraft. The airline recently bought additional six Dreamliners.


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