Airbus has revealed it has won an order from Ethiopian Airlines, a long-term Boeing customer for 12 of its new A350 XWB aircraft in a deal valued at about $2.8 billion at list price, bringing its total worldwide orders for the plane to 505.
Ethiopian has selected the A350-900 to operate from their hub in Addis Ababa on routes to Europe, the US and Asia. The carrier does have an order for 10 of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft but this has been affected by delays and though the order still stands it is thought that the Airbus order is a necessary response and it may need to lease some planes in the meantime.
This was the biggest order n the opening day of the Dubai Airshow but Airbus chief salesman John Leahy told a news conference, amid laughter, that Ethiopian “refused to pay catalogue prices.”
Carriers usually secure discounts for large orders of new aircraft, especially for planes such as the A350 that are still in production.
“We are committed to investing in industry leading technology to maintain our unrivalled reputation in Africa whilst continuing to grow” said Mr Girma Wake, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. “The A350-900 uses new technology to bring superior passenger comfort and a step change in fuel efficiency to our rapidly expanding operations.”
“The A350 XWB’s extra efficiency and cabin-comfort will strengthen Ethiopian Airlines’ position as a leader and benchmark in African aviation” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. “More than 500 orders from 32 customers is a clear endorsement that the A350 XWB is shaping the future of air travel.”
The A350 XWB Family is Airbus’ response to widespread market demand for a series of highly efficient medium-capacity long-range wide-body aircraft. With a range of up to 8,300 nm / 15,400 km, it is available in three basic passenger versions.
The A350 XWB is competition for the Dreamliner. Powered by two new generation Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines, the A350 XWB Family is designed to confront the challenges of high fuel prices, rising passenger expectations, and environmental constraints.