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Ethiopian to use 787 on short flights to ensure high utilisation rates

         Date: 2012-03-02

           Tag: Ethiopian use 787, short flights

Summary: Ethiopian has now scheduled three short to medium haul flights per day with its initial fleet of 787s.

Ethiopian has now scheduled three short to medium haul flights per day with its initial fleet of 787s. In addition to the daily 787 flights to Dubai and Johannesburg from 15-Jun-2012, Ethiopian has filed in the GDS a schedule to begin using 787s on some of its Harare and Lusaka services from 18-Sep-2012.

Harare and Lusaka have each been served non-stop with daily Boeing 737-800 flights since the beginning of Dec-2011. Previously they were combined as part of an Addis Ababa-Harare-Lusaka-Addis Ababa routing with 767-300ERs. Addis Ababa-Harare will now see four of its seven weekly frequencies upgraded from the 737 to the 787 while Addis Ababa-Lusaka will see three weekly frequencies upgraded to the 787.

While the 787 will play a key role in Ethiopian’s plans for significantly expanding its presence in China, the carrier will likely continue to also use its 787s on some shorter flights within Africa and to the Middle East.

Initially the shorter flights will help Ethiopian build up operational experience with the new type but over the long run they help ensure higher utilisation levels across the new 787 fleet and a more efficient rotation of aircraft. For example, Ethiopian now uses its 777-200LRs on two Dubai flights rather than let the aircraft sit in Addis Ababa for several hours between the long-haul flights to Beijing and Washington Dulles.

Upgrading some of the Harare and Lusaka flights to the 787 allows Ethiopian to meet increasing demand for these destinations from Ethiopian-served cities outside Africa, including in China.

Adding a second 737-800 frequency to serve growing African destinations does not make sense as Ethiopian has one big bank in the early morning, when flights from Asia, Europe and Washington DC arrive in Addis Ababa followed by departures throughout Africa and one big bank in evening, when the Africa flights arrive back in Addis Ababa followed by departures to other regions.

African destinations including Harare, Lusaka and Johannesburg are now served by Ethiopian in the daytime in both directions. As a result Addis Ababa-southern Africa-Addis-Ababa-Guangzhou-Addis Ababa makes an ideal 48-hour rotation.

Flights from Addis Ababa to southern Africa are about four to five hours in duration while flights to China take 10 to 12 hours. Ethiopian now has similar Africa-Asia rotations for its fleet of 10 767-300ERs.

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