Ethiopian Airlines has firmed up a previously signed memorandum of understanding for 12 Airbus A350 XWBs into a firm order, bringing total orders for the A350 XWB family to 505 from 32 customers less than three years after Airbus launched the program.
Airbus announced Ethiopian’s new order for the A350 XWB, which Airbus is developing as a rival to the Boeing 787 (also ordered by Ethiopian Airlines, the carrier contracting for 10 in 2005), at the Dubai Airshow 2009, which began on November 15.
In selecting the A350-900 to operate from its hub in Addis Ababa on routes to Europe, the US and Asia, Ethiopian Airlines becomes a new member in Airbus’ family of over 300 customers.
“We are committed to investing in industry leading technology to maintain our unrivalled reputation in Africa whilst continuing to grow,” says 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 Family is Airbus’ response to widespread market demand for a series of highly efficient, medium-capacity, long-range widebody aircraft. With a range of up to 8,300nm, (15,400 km), it is available in three basic passenger versions.
Airbus saus the A350 XWB will have the widest fuselage in its category. 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.