Ethiopian Airlines has taken delivery of the first of five new Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft featuring reconfigured cabins at the manufacturer’s Q400 assembly line at Downsview near Toronto.
Based on customer feedback, Ethiopian Airlines asked the manufacturer to reconfigure the airline’s latest Bombardier Q400 NextGen deliveries and as a result Ethiopian is the first carrier to take delivery of a Q400 NextGen with the reconfigured cabin.
The five new regional airliners contain numerous innovations that will greatly enhance passenger comfort, according to Ethiopian Airlines, which claims to be the fastest-growing airline in Africa.
Whereas its previously delivered Q400s were configured with all-economy cabins, the new aircraft have seven business class and 60 economy class seats. The new configuration also has a second lavatory which gives exclusive access to business class passengers.
Also unlike Ethiopian’s previous Q400 deliveries, the new aircraft will have reclining seats in the economy class cabin and a hot galley allowing hot meals to be served on regional flights. The new aircraft also have more luggage capacity, extra overhead bin space and greater leg room.
According to Ethiopian, the Bombardier Q400 NextGen is an ideal aircraft for domestic and regional flights, with a cruising speed closer to narrowbody jet aircraft than those of other turboprop airliners, but also offering reduced fuel consumption and emissions compared with jet aircraft.
In addition to 17 domestic destinations, the airline operates its Q400s on regional international routes within Africa, such as from Addis Ababa to Djibouti, Mombasa, Nairobi, Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salam, Zanzibar, Entebbe, Kigali, Juba, Khartoum and Berbera.
“After listening to our customers’ feedback and understanding customers’ concerns on cabin features of the aircraft in the last two and a half years, we have worked with Bombardier on the innovative reconfiguration,” says Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian Airlines’ chief executive officer.
“We are very happy on the new configuration, which will enable us to provide customized and the best possible service on domestic and regional routes,” adds Gebremariam. “Now, our Cloud Nine customers can enjoy a full-fledged business class service, and our connecting passengers from Ethiopian and Star Alliance network will benefit from a greatly improved product in line with our continuous effort to provide a seamless travel experience.”
All five reconfigured Q400s will be delivered to Ethiopian before the end of this year. The airline also plans to reconfigure the eight Q400s already in its fleet in order to meet its customers’ in-flight service expectations.
Ethiopian Airlines made its maiden international flight to Cairo in 1946 and now the carrier serves 69 international destinations spanning four continents.
Addis Ababa-based Ethiopian is a Star Alliance member. The Star Alliance network offers more than 21,555 daily flights to 1,356 airports in 193 countries.