Addis Ababa - Ethiopian Airlines
received Africa's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Friday, making
Ethiopia the only country aside from Japan to operate the innovative
"As a continent this shows how
much we are making progress as Africans... competing on the global
stage and changing our image," Ethiopian Airline CEO Tewolde
Gebremariam told reporters at Addis Ababa's Bole International
The plane arrived from Dulles airport
in Washington, DC, home to the largest Ethiopian diaspora population
State-owned Ethiopian Airlines –
Africa's fastest growing carrier - has purchased ten 787 Dreamliners
from Boeing. Each has an official list price of some $207m, although
airlines rarely pay such figures, especially for bulk orders.
It is expected to operate the aircraft
on routes throughout Africa and Europe, including Accra, Lagos, Rome
Tewolde said the delivery of the
Dreamliner, dubbed "Africa First," is an achievement for
all of the continent.
The aircraft is constructed with
lightweight carbon, as opposed to heavy aluminium found on other
planes, consuming 20% less fuel.
Transport Minister Deriba Kuma said the
delivery of the 787 was especially notable given the financially
"This achievement of Ethiopian
Airlines is all the more remarkable given the very bad global context
for the airline industry," he said.
Despite the fanfare at the landing
ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the country
expects greater achievements from the airline in the future.
"My people and my government are
expecting to see Ethiopian Airlines as one of the best airlines in
the world, not only in Africa," said Hailemariam, who is also
Ethiopian Airlines was established in
1945 and now operates to 86 cities throughout Africa, Europe, Asia
and North America.
In 2011 Ethiopia had a GDP per capita
of $374, according to the World Bank, but has showed strong economic
growth of 11%, according to the government, and 7% according to the
International Monetary Fund.
Only Japan Airlines and ANA (All Nippon
Airways) operate the Dreamliner so far.
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