LONDON – Ethiopian Airlines (ET) has today received two brand new De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft as part of the airline’s strategy of further regional connectivity across Africa.
The two aircraft, dubbed as MSN 4617 and MSN 4615, highlights a milestone for ET as it has now received 30 units of the type, having welcomed the first aircraft into the fleet all the way back in March 2010.
Commenting on the news was Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO Tewolde GebreMariam who expressed confidence over this aircraft type. “This milestone 30th delivery highlights our confidence in the Dash 8-400 aircraft and is a testament to the joint success in supporting our network and strategic partnerships with several carriers across Africa”.
“The Dash 8-400 aircraft continues to provide the operational flexibility, exceptional performance capability, capacity and passenger comfort we need. Most importantly, the Dash 8-400 aircraft supports the cost leadership strategy we rely on in our market – particularly in these unprecedented times during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Continued Regional Growth in Africa
Also commenting on the news was Sameer Adam, the Regional VP for Sales at De Havilland who expressed reasons behind the aircraft being a positive choice for airlines in Africa, including ET. “We congratulate Ethiopian Airlines on continuing a phenomenal growth trajectory and increasing connectivity within Africa.”
“Ethiopian has taken tremendous positive steps to strengthen their capabilities with the acquisition of the first Dash 8-400 simulator for Africa and by recently adding a second simulator; achieving recognition as an Authorized Service Facility; and proving the value of a business class configuration on regional aircraft in Africa.”
“We certainly look forward to more examples of Ethiopian’s continuing leadership and the success of their ongoing strategic partnerships with ASKY Airlines, Malawi Airlines, Ethiopian Moçambique Airlines and Tchadia Airlines in the operation of Dash 8-400 aircraft across Africa.”
Significant Market Share in Africa
Out of the 155 total Dash 8 aircraft in Africa, around 90 are the -400 variant, with De Havilland delivering over 1,300 aircraft across 155 airlines globally.
De Havilland have currently been marketing the aircraft as one ideal for hybrid passenger-cargo and all-cargo operations, particularly in the fire-fighting, search and rescue, medical evacuation and coastal surveillance market as well.
Such cargo operations has caused De Havilland to thrive particularly especially during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to get the essential goods and services to remote areas all across the world.
Business Class on a Dash 8
On Dash 8s that ET have received since 2012, they have been kitted out with seven seats in Business Class and either 60 or 64 seats in Economy, according to data from Planespotters.net.
The regional business market in Africa has been thriving especially with the connections offered from the likes of Addis Ababa (ADD) and other African capitals within close proximity to the Ethiopian capital.
With ET looking at partnering up with the likes of South African Airways (SA) within the African market, such aircraft can be used to penetrate the already existing market that had been occupied by the likes of SA. Especially with the airline in considerable financial turmoil at the moment, this would be the best opportunity for ET to seize on. Helping out SA can prove to be a benefit, especially with securing links further afield on behalf of the airline.
Ultimately, whilst COVID-19 is currently disrupting passenger traffic substantially, having Business Class in a regional aircraft will eventually hold its benefits in the future.
For the likes of ET, hosting a business class section in an aircraft such as the Dash 8-400 would not have been decided on easily, especially if there is opportunity for scope and growth once recovery begins.
These new aircraft will ultimately enable opportunities to service more places across the continent and can be utilised to operate intense weekly frequencies.
It will be interesting to see what such routes will be in the first place and what sort of economic value it will have to Ethiopian Airlines going into the future.
Featured Image: A brand new Ethiopian Airlines Dash 8-400 days before delivery. Photo Credit: De Havilland.