The world’s newest, most modern and efficient aircraft, the Airbus A350 XWB (extra-wide body), made its East African debut, arrived at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport. Its visit is a precursor to the delivery of Ethiopian Airlines’ first A350-900 aircraft in the second quarter of next year and it will be the first Africa’s first A-350 service.
As part of its ongoing fleet expansion and modernisation strategy, Ethiopian Airlines has ordered a fleet of 14 of the all-new mid-size long range A350-900s which mark the carrier’s first ever Airbus purchase. The visiting aircraft, wearing its striking “carbon” livery, is one of five A350 XWBs built and used by Airbus to perform comprehensive flight test and development trials ahead of its airworthiness certification and entry into commercial service at the end of last year. During its visit to Addis Ababa, which is more than 7,000 feet above sea level, the aircraft demonstrated its superior high-altitude take off performance.
The visit also provided an early opportunity for personnel from Ethiopian Airlines, Bole International Airport and Ethiopia’s air navigation service provider to gain first-hand experience working with the new jetliner. The A350 XWB was on static display to all Ethiopian Airlines employees this morning. It will depart in the early afternoon for Toulouse, France on the final leg of its tour which has also seen the aircraft displayed in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and at the biennial Dubai Air show.
The A350 XWB is the latest addition to the market-leading Airbus wide body product line. It features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Together, these latest technologies bring unrivalled level of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs.
Airbus offers the A350 XWB in three different length and capacity variants. The A350-800 seats 276 passengers while the A350-900 and the A350-1000 will offer 315 and 369 seats respectively. They are the world’s most modern and efficient aircraft family and with an extra-wide cabin offering more personal space in all classes, the A350 XWB has set new standards in terms of passenger comfort and flight experience. With their range capability up to 8,700 nautical miles (16,112km), the A350 XWB can comfortably fly non-stop from Addis Ababa to destinations in Europe, US and Asia.