ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Ethiopian Airlines next week takes delivery of Africa’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and the airline’s chief executive says the plane will first be used on routes around the continent.
The airline takes delivery of the Dreamliner on Tuesday in Seattle, Wash. The plane’s maiden flight the following weekend is to carry 250 select customers and VIPs, who will fly around Mount Kilimanjaro on the Tanzania-Kenya border.
“We are really excited to become the first carrier in Africa, Europe, Americas and Middle East to operate this modern aircraft,” Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday.
The 787, which so far is operated only by two Japanese airlines, is Chicago-based Boeing’s most advanced plane. It is made out of lighter, composite material — 50% of the plane is carbon fiber — that allows airlines to save on fuel costs.
Large windows provide a stronger connection to the outside world, on-board humidity is increased and the cabin pressure is closer to what it feels like on the ground. LED lights that slowly change color is another feature designed to fight flight fatigue.