Ethiopian Airlines' first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner landed today at Addis Ababa Bole international airport after its first revenue flight from Washington Dulles.
The aircraft, registration ET-AOQ and operating flight 2501, touched down in rainy weather at 09:04 local time as hundreds of staff members from the airline stood waiting on the airport's tarmac. More than 60 passengers, including the airline's chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam, were on board.
Ethiopian took delivery of the aircraft from Boeing in Everett, Washington, on 14 August before flying it to Washington the next day. The aircraft departed the US capital on 16 August at 13:14 as a revenue flight, following its regularly scheduled daily flight between Washington Dulles and Addis Ababa which was operated by a Boeing 777.
The Star Alliance carrier, which has ordered 10 787s, is the third airline to take delivery of the aircraft after Japan's All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines. Hailing the moment as historic, Gebremariam says being the third carrier to fly the 787 is testament to Ethiopian's standing in the aviation industry.
Ethiopian has secured $1 billion of financing guaranteed by JP Morgan for the 10 787s, with the US Export-Import Bank providing the loans that cover 85% of the aircraft cost. The balance will be financed by a group of financial institutions including ING Capital, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, The Netherlands Development Finance Company, the ICF Debt Pool, and from its own balance sheet.
"With uncertainty in the aircraft financing market about a potential funding gap and tightening credit conditions, JP Morgan's $1 billion aircraft financing is testimony to our trusted relationship with Ethiopian Airlines and the strength and capacity of our trade finance capabilities," says Jeremy Shaw, head of trade finance business for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at JP Morgan.
The airline will operate the aircraft on a sightseeing flight around Mount Kilimanjaro on 18 August, before flying it to various destinations in Africa, Europe and the Middle East from 19 August.
Gebremariam said previously that Ethiopian will use the aircraft on its Addis Ababa to Washington Dulles flight after it accepts its second 787 in September. The airline will alternate the two 787s with a a 777 that currently operates on the route. The airline will take delivery of its third 787 in October and fourth in November, after which it will begin flights to Guangzhou with the aircraft.