Africa: Ethiopian Airlines may replace B777 with B777x

Ethiopian aviation ForwardKeys

Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest carrier has said it May consider replacing the Boeing 777 with the new Boeing 777X being manufactured by the aircraft giant.

The B777X program was launched in 2013. The project aims to see Boeing launching a new version of the B777 to compete with the latest Airbus jets. The aircraft is an evolution of the classic B777 aircraft which will feature new GE9X engines, and composite wings with folding wingtips.

According to the B777X will have a host of new features. For starters, the new GE9X engines that will be installed are currently undergoing testing. General Electric owns a B747 which is used exclusively for engine testing.

The aircraft also has Boeing’s new folding wing tips. The folding wing tips will remove 11.5 feet from the wing on either side of the aircraft. This will make the aircraft much more manoeuvrable on the ground at airports, while maximising fuel efficiency in the air.

Managing Director, Ethiopian International Services, Esayas WoldeMariam Hailu, while speaking with Journalists in Addis Ababa said the airline is evaluating it as a possible replacement for the existing 777 fleet.

Esayas who spoke on the B737 Max air crash earlier in the year stated that the accident did not have much negative impact on its fleet utilization and load factor mainly due to is the continued trust and confidence among the travelling public on its safety standard.

He said: “The problem with the design of the flight control system of the B737 MAX and its redesign is under review by regulatory bodies and stakeholders. So, currently we can’t comment on the resumption of operation of the fleet type. But as we said previously, if we resume operating the B737 MAX, we will be the last airline to do so.

“Actually the number of B737MAX8 aircraft we have on order is 27. As the aircraft type and its flight control system is under review by regulators, it is too early to comment on this.”

There have so far been 326 orders for the B777X. Just under half of those were ordered by Emirates. The remaining orders are made up by Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, All Nipon Airways, Singapore Airlines, and an unidentified customer.

By Friday Nwosu

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