(eTN) – Last weekend saw a third brand-new, extra-long-range B777-200LR joined the Ethiopian Airlines (ET) fleet. Currently operating a fleet of 45 aircraft, Ethiopian has a further 34 aircraft on order, among them the long-delayed B787 Dreamliner and other wide-bodied aircraft from Boeing and Airbus. Two more of the B777 are due for delivery during the year 2011, to be followed by additional B737-800s, the backbone of the airline’s Africa operation.
The maiden flight took off from the Boeing plant in Seattle, after taking formal delivery, and then routed via Washington where it picked up passengers for the nonstop flight to Addis. Also on board was a substantial donation of medical equipment and materials courtesy of both Boeing and the Seattle Anaesthesia Outreach organization, destined for the Black Lion Hospital in Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Airlines, soon to formally join the global Star Alliance, is expected to substantially widen their network reach across Africa and the rest of the world and will undoubtedly prove to be a valuable addition to the other Star Alliance members by connecting passengers into the continent via Addis Ababa.