22 AUGUST 2016
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Ethiopia’s flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines is set to order 10 to 15 regional jets by the year end to be deployed on short-haul flights.
Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam noted the airline needs to fulfil a passenger-capacity requirement. “If you see our fleet, we have the Q400s with 78 seats and we have ordered four B737 MAX with 160 seats. The gap between the two is wide. So we need an aircraft with about 100 seats that can fill the gap,” Tewolde said.
According to the CEO, Ethiopian is considering a range of narrow-bodied aircraft, including the new Bombardier CSeries and Mitsubishi Regional Jet, plus the updated Embraer E series. There is a team established in the airline group which is tasked with evaluating the aircraft. The airline is a long-standing Bombardier Q400 operator and recently ordered two more, bringing the fleet up to 19.
Addis Ababa Bole International Airport’s altitude, which is 2400m above sea level, is a problem for performance of the engines. “The high altitude reduces the payload of the aircraft and we seriously consider the engine performance," Tewolde noted.
In a typical understatement, Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss, the CS100’s first operator, said it is satisfied with the aircraft's introduction, highlighting a 99% dispatch reliability.
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