Wednesday, August 15, 2012

► UNITED STATES: (Pics) Ethiopian Airlines gets the keys to its first of ten 787s and finalizes the $1.2billion loan to pay for them.

Ethiopian airlines
After constant delays pushed back Boeing's 787 Dreamliner launch date by over 3 years, Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of its very own, and Africa's first, Dreamliner to be named "Africa First" (MSN 34745 | ET-AOQ) at a ceremony in Everett, north of Seattle yesterday.
The keys to Africa First Ethiopian 787
The 'keys' to Africa First (Boeing)
"Today begins the first day in a new era of flying for our passengers and brings us even closer to our vision for the future, Vision 2025," said Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. "We are pleased to be the first airline in the world outside Japan to receive this technologically advanced aircraft. We have been waiting for this airplane and now that we officially have it and will show it to the world, I can say with pride, it was worth the wait. This airplane is going to move Ethiopian Airlines to the forefront of aviation leadership around the globe."

The 787 Dreamliner is composed of light-weight composites and features numerous system, engine and aerodynamic advancements making it more efficient to operate compared with its competition. It is the first mid-sized airplane capable of flying long-range routes, enabling airlines to open new, non-stop routes preferred by passengers.

"Today marks not just another milestone for Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines, but a new beginning in our 65-year partnership," said Van Rex Gallard, vice president of Sales for Africa, Latin America, & Caribbean, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.  "Ethiopian Airlines continues to show their strong leadership in African aviation and their growing presence around the globe. Being the first in Africa and one of the first in the world further confirms their position globally."

After taking delivery, Ethiopian will fly its Dreamliner to Washington D.C. where the aircraft will be on display and is expected to be visited by VIP guests and media. The aircraft will then make its inaugural trip to Africa with its first revenue flight from Dulles International Airport to Bole Addis Ababa International Airport.  

Ethiopian Airways has nine more 787 Dreamliners remaining on order. The airline was the first African airline to operate the 777-200LR, the first to order the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and the first to order the 777 Freighter. Ethiopian Airlines currently operates an all-Boeing fleet of 737, 757, 767 and 777, and now 787 airplanes in passenger service and a 757, MD11 and 747 in cargo operations."
 Source [Boeing]

Also on the trip, Ethiopian put pen to paper with the United States Export Import Bank and secured a loan for USD$1.2billion to pay for the fleet of 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, three of which are due for delivery before the end of year.
"The purchase of the Dreamliner required a range of loan arrangements including a loan guarantee that was acquired from The US Export-Import Bank in charge of export credit arrangements in the United States.

The junior lenders, contributing 12.5% of the total amount required for the purchase of the Dreamliners, are Dutch financier ING Capital, the Netherlands Development Financial Company, US Emerging Capital Partners, and US ICF International or Inner City Fund noted Nega.  85% of the loan was arranged through JP Morgan Chase & Co. and the ING Group and Ethiopian Airlines covered the balance.  

The payment of the loan from the major financier, JP Morgan, will be paid back over a 12 year year period said Tewolde, Gebremariam, Chief Executive of the Airline."
 Source [2merkato Ethiopia]

Ethiopian will now fly its Dreamliner "Africa First" to Washington D.C , where the aircraft will be on display to foreign dignitaries amongst whom will be US Senators and House Representatives as well as Ambassadors, Executives from the World Bank and IMF, members of the Ethiopian community, the media and other invited guests. 
It should be noted that since its early days with the Boeing 707 and 720, Ethiopian has maintained a very strong bond with Boeing and its financiers at the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Thereafter, Ethiopian Airlines on 16 August, will operate its first revenue flight between Washington Dulles – Addis Ababa. The Dreamliner is scheduled to touchdown at Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport on Thursday 16 August 2012 following which the airline will hold massive celebrations.

►►For a list of the various destinations to be visited by the 787 on its tour, see this post.

Now for the part you've all been waiting for, from the ceremony itself:
Ethiopian's first 787 "Africa First"

Ethiopian's first 787

Ethiopian's first 787

Dotting the 'I's and Crossing the 'T's for Ethiopian's first 787

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Ethiopian's first 787

Business Class in Ethiopian's first 787

Inside EThiopian's 787