ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES TO INSTALL BLENDED WINGLETS FROM NEXT MONTH ON B767-300ERS
Information was confirmed from Addis Ababa that Ethiopian Airlines will convert initially three of their current B767-300ER aircraft from early February to a blended winglets format, aimed to reduce operating costs due to substantially lower fuel burn but also lower the airlines carbon footprint. Other B767 aircraft still on the Ethiopian fleet are due to be modified progressively thereafter.
The move became necessary due to the continuously rising fuel cost and the delay by Boeing to deliver the 10 long overdue B787 Dreamliners which ET was due to have in operation by now.
The three aircraft will be converted at the airlines own maintenance base in Addis Ababa, where their team of own technicians will be assisted by personnel from Aviation Partners, a Boeing affiliate company. The conversion is according to information obtained from a source in Addis going to save up to 500.000 gallons of fuel per aircraft per year, reducing carbon output by up to 5.000 tons per aircraft, and will increase payload and range respectively by about 7+ metric tons or over 300 nautical miles.
Across the border in Kenya has a regular source provided feedback when asked to comment that Kenya Airways is constantly reviewing all options of how to lower operating costs across the entire fleet not confirming or denying that the recent visit by Boeing top executives, when showing off the B787 Dreamliner in Nairobi in mid December, had discussed remedial measures for the anticipated delayed delivery of KQs first B787 in late 2012 such as the retrofitting of blended winglets in KQs B767 fleet. That however seems to have been the outcome of the visit of the aircraft and Boeing team to Addis Ababa only days before their move to Nairobi, raising expectation that something similar might be announced from Embakasi very soon.
No cost estimate was provided by the source in Addis Ababa, suggesting that some of the cost could be borne by Boeing as part of the compensation package agreed with Ethiopian Airlines for the long delay of delivering the B787 Dreamliner. Watch this space for the very latest breaking news and information on Eastern Africas aviation industry.