- Ethiopian DC3 taken in 1973. Photo by Christian Hanuise via Wikipedia
On December 13th, Ethiopian Airlines was welcomed into the Star Alliance. This is just one of quite a few major steps that the African airline has taken in recent years.
The airline started operations in 1946 and is the flag carrier of Ethiopia. It is currently owned 100% by the government and has grand plans for the next few years, which they call, “Vision 2025.” Their vision is not only to grow the airline, but to, “contribute positively to socio economic development of Ethiopia in particular and the countries it operates in general by undertaking its corporate social responsibilities and providing vital global air connectivity.”
In November 2010, the airline took delivery of their first Boeing 777 and they currently operate a fleet of five of the wide bodied aircraft. They aren’t stopping with just 777s, they are looking to the future and have orders for ten Boeing 787s and 12 Airbus A350s. Joining the Star Alliance is just one step in Ethiopian Airlines becoming more of a global player.
A far cry from the DC-3: Ethiopian Airlines first 787 Dreamliner on the Boeing Factory Floor in Sept 2011.
“It is another historical milestone for Ethiopian to join this most prestigious and longest serving Alliance in the world,”said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO Ethiopian Airlines via a press release. “This day will remain colourfully marked in our history book. It is in line with our efforts to lay a strong foundation for the airline to achieve its vision 2025 objectives.”
If you like the airline, do not waste your time just buying a model. They are actually selling three Boeing 757-200ERs via their website right now. Talk about a great gift for the holidays!
Want a bit more? My friend and NYCAviation.com writer Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren recently took some flights on Ethiopian and reviewed their business class (cloud nine) and economy class products.
This model of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in ANA Star Alliance livery was at Narita Airport. Click for larger.
While on a layover at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, I found a very large model of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in special All Nippon Airways (ANA) Star Alliance livery.
ANA has told AirlineReporter.com that they, “are not planning to use the Star Alliance livery for the 787s for now.” That means we might have to wait a bit longer to see this on a bigger version.
Boeing has announced it expects to delivery its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner to ANA either August of September of this year. The first 787 will have a special ANA livery which was announced during the Paris Air Show.
An All Nippon Airways Boeing 767 on the Taxiway at Haneda. The new international terminal is in the background.
Let me introduce you to Tokyo’s two airports: Narita Airport and Haneda Airport.
Historically Haneda has handled domestic flights and Narita has handled international flights. Haneda is located just outside of downtown Tokyo, where Narita is about 50 miles east of Tokyo.
If passengers flew into Haneda to make a connection for an international flight, they would have had to take an hour long bus or train ride to Narita to get their connecting international flight.
But things are changing. On October 21st Haneda opened their new International Terminal and commenced their first scheduled international flights in 32 years. Some short-haul international flights have already started, and long-haul will start on October 31st.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) will start two flights from Haneda on the 31st: one from Los Angeles using a Boeing 777-200ER and the other to Honolulu using a Boeing 767-300ER. ANA will also start code-share flights from Haneda with Air Canada, Air China, Asiana Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways International, all members of Star Alliance, as well as with Eva Airways and Malaysia Airlines.
Air Canada will fly a Haneda-Vancouver route and Malaysia Airlines will start a Haneda-Kota Kinabalu route. ANA will also start code-shares on four flights to Singapore with Singapore Airlines, two flights to Bangkok with Thai Airways International, two flights to Seoul (Gimpo) with Asiana Airlines, two flights to Beijing with Air China, and four flights to Taipei (Songshan) with Eva Airways.
So what does this mean for you? Convenience. If you are in the US and looking to visit Tokyo or fly into Tokyo to transfer to another domestic flight, it will now be much easier. Yes, tickets will cost a bit more to Haneda, but you will save the bus or train fare and of course time. Saving time can be worth the money if you are travelling on business or even on vacation.
During a press conference Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines and ANA were all asked if they have seen their booking to Narita decline due to the new competition from Haneda and all three stated at this point they have not.
Competition never seems to hurt passengers and hopefully this will be the case of Haneda initiating international flights. Currently the long haul flights won’t directly compete with the ones from Narita due to time restrictions at Haneda. Long-haul flights can only take off or land at Haneda from midnight to 5am, times which Narita is closed.
Not only does Haneda increase the diversity of passengers and aircraft, they also got a brand spanking new international terminal that is quite amazing. On my next blog I will take you on a little tour of that new terminal.