WILL ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES EXPAND THEIR AIRBUS PORTFOLIO?
(Posted 05th October 2019)
There are growing indications that a decision to purchase new short and medium haul jets by Ethiopian Airlines may be imminent.
ATCNews had in the past reported about ET’s evaluation process to determine which new single aisle jet might be the best fit for them to serve the thinner regional and continental routes and yet offer non stop services out of Addis Ababa into the final destination, something which is often not possible when using the larger B737-800NG. This has in several cases led to stopovers enroute to a final destination, such as recently seen when Victoria Falls is combined with Gaborone or Harare is combined with Lusaka.
The Airbus A220 is presently being operated by African launch customer Air Tanzania, which has two of them already in service and another two on order while Egypt Air more recently took delivery of their first A220 aircraft.
For Ethiopian Airlines would a further spread of the smallest Airbus also open opportunities for aircraft maintenance, as it has been tradition in Addis to service their own aircraft – in the process then being able to offer similar services to African airlines using the A220.
While looking at a decision coming closer is it also necessary to bring into play the fate of the B737MAX’s Ethiopian Airlines still has on order, presently some 28 with several sitting on the ground in Addis following the global grounding of this aircraft type.
Given that ET was a victim of faulty systems on that aircraft type is it understandable that question marks hang over this order, more so after the initially very bad comments made by both Boeing and FAA officials before they were exposed for their misleading statements when the aircraft was banned around the globe by more safety conscious aviation regulators, leaving the FAA trailing in their wake.
Once a decision has been made in Addis Ababa about the A220 will ATCNews report about it.
Meanwhile would the lead period to the first delivery of such an aircraft also give the engine manufacturer time to find fixes for their current wave of problems with several in flight engine shutdowns for Air Tanzania, Baltic and Swiss.