Ethiopian Airline’s first African A350 XWB lands in Lagos amid fanfare

History was made in Lagos on Saturday as the first African A350 XWB owned and operated by Ethiopian Airline, touched down at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at about 2.30 pm, amid pump and pageantry.
A joyous crowd consisting members of the press, staff of Aviation Agencies, ground handlers, Lagos State commissioner for Tourism, Mr. Folarin Coker and his team, airport workers and staff of the airline, welcomed the aircraft with excitement as Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) fire tenders showers the aircraft with water in a colourful display.
Speaking on the occasion, general manager of Ethiopian Airlines in Nigeria, Solomon Bengashaw, sait ‘the year  2016 has a special meaning  for Ethiopian airlines for major milestones achievement’.
He said the excitement is more as the airline is still celebrating 70th year anniversary  as it grows younger and stronger in  the industry.

“As pan-African airline, Ethiopian, is committed to introduce in to the continent the latest and most advanced aviation technologies and systems of the century. Ethiopian Airbus being to roar on the African skies and beyond, the question is which city is to host this state-of-the-art aircraft first in African soil.

“Indeed the answer is obvious and you all are here to witness and confirm that the First African Airbus A-350-900 arriving to thesoil of Nigerian particularly Lagos first time ever It’s also another honor and milestone for Ethiopian airlines and theNigerians and particularity MMI  to welcome the first commercial flight of the A350 to the land of Lagos which will be landing in a few minute  from now . Nigeria is favoured to receive the newest Aircraft in the world Airbus A350. Lagos and Dubai are the first stations to receive Ethiopian Airlines Brand new Baby. Recalling that four years ago, I my self was the host to receive Ethiopian Airlines Boeing B787 Dreamliner to Africa and to Lagos.

“The fact that we are ushering in another first to Africa in a span of four years is an affirmation of our continuing pioneering role in African aviation. It is also a testimony of our commitment to give our passengers the very best travel experience, with the latest industry products and services. On behalf of all my colleagues at the Ethiopian family, I am delighted to see Ethiopian to continue making Africa First in Aviation Technology,”  he said.

According to him, Ethiopian Airline has done its part by bringing the best to the Nigerian travel industry to ensure that travel business and tourism will flourish and also be catered by the most advanced and safety reliable equipments.

“And what is left is for the Nigerian public is to join hands with us for the best yet to come .

Also speaking, Folarin Coker, Lagos State commissioner for Tourism, said the current global crisis of lower oil prices and lower oil production in the country, including the exchange rate deregulation, and the recent departure of two or three airlines from our country, the arrival of Ethiopian Airlines Africa’s newest A-350 aircraft to Nigeria has a lot of significance as a whole.

According to him, the significance is not just that is the first, the significance is that while the country is learning to take big steps, some airlines may choose to leave, some who have worked with us before, but Ethiopian Airlines has choosing to bring the best that is available here in the current global economic planet, I think, they need to be applauded.

Coker said he is not surprised that it is Lagos, because ‘if you look at the wealth and the population of Lagos in the contest of most Nigerians and Africans, you will understand that this is a viable market, and anybody who comes to do business here understands business and understands that this economy can give returns to your global dollar and can give one returns that is comparable to anywhere else in the world.

“What is lacking is for you to come here and experience it and of course with this new aircraft, I am sure that many more people from that region and even further East will come to Lagos”, he added.

Capt. Leta Chala Bongasie, pilot of the aircraft said the aircraft is fully automated and has protection of different categories with unusual kind of flight manoeuvres that can be be handle by itsel.

“It has a lot more and it is highly automated”, he said.

Speaking on the features of the A350 XWB,  Bengashaw noted that the aircraft is fitted with the latest high-definition touchscreen personal monitors and a higher selection of movies, television series and audio channels. Inflight Wi-Fi connection will be made available on this aircraft in the future.
He said pssengers with smart devices can connect to the world while others can use the smart individual touch screens on their seats when the internet service goes operational as the A350 XWB’s innovative technology also improves performance in operation.
“Its revolutionary airframe and simplified systems have optimized fuel burn, maintenance costs and reliability, and its engines have the lowest carbon dioxide CO2 emissions of any in the wide body category. Ethiopian has ordered 14 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft and will continue receiving the remaining 13 soon, constantly raising the number of Airbus aircraft in the fleet ensuring the extra comfort”, he added.
By: Sade Williams


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