Ethiopian Airlines has scrapped plans to lease an Airbus A340 for its recently introduced transatlantic operations and is seeking alternative equipment.

Ethiopian concluded an agreement in May with Airbus Industrie Financial Services (AIFS) for the three-year lease of an ex-Gulf Air A340-300 to operate its new service to Washington DC and existing flights to Europe. The aircraft was due to be in service by July when the new route was launched, but Ethiopian says that it scrubbed the deal as AIFS could not deliver the A340 in "accordance with the delivery conditions" nor make it available in the agreed timeframe.

The Ethiopian carrier has launched the twice-weekly service, which operates between Rome, Italy, and Washington DC, as an extension of its service from capital Addis Ababa, using its fleet of Boeing 767-200/300ERs and 757-200s. The airline says it is arranging to acquire alternative aircraft, and is believed to be discussing the use of more 767s.

The collapse of the A340 deal will be a blow to Airbus as Ethiopian has an all-Boeing jet fleet, but the carrier is evaluating both Airbus and Boeing types for its fleet renewal programme.

Source: Flight International