Ethiopian Airlines has confirmed its memorandum of understanding for 12 Airbus A350 XWBs, signing a firm contract today at the Dubai air show.
The deal, which takes A350 orders through 500, was first announced in July and marks the first time Ethiopian has placed an Airbus order. "This is the start of a new relationship," says the airline’s chief executive Girma Wake.
Deliveries are due to begin in 2017, although Wake says that he does not rule out taking A350s on lease ahead of the ordered aircraft arriving.
Ethiopian is already a customer for Boeing’s 787, which Wake says will be deployed on shorter routes from its Addis Ababa hub with sector times of 7-8h. The A350s will be used on longer range flights lasting up to 12h.