Home | News    Sunday 9 January 2011

Emirates Airbus plane bumps into Ethiopia’s new Boeing

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

January 8, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) – A recently delivered Ethiopia’s new Boeing 777-200 LR, one of the first ever owned by an African airliner, has collided with an Emirates’ Airbus A340 at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport.

The incident happened on Tuesday when the Emirates plane, bound for Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport, prepared and accidently bumped into the standing Ethiopian Boeing which had earlier landed from the US.

On January 5 The Reporter, a bi-weekly Ethiopian newspaper reported - The Emirates airbus hit the Boeing 777 on its tail Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) with its left wing, while heading to the runway to take-off. The airbus’ left wing began to smoke and could not take off until it underwent maintenance.

Following the incident, the Ethiopian Boeing was forced to cancel its flight scheduled to take off at 10:15PM to the US. It said the tail of the plane was cracked by about 15 cm.

However, speaking to Sudan Tribune a worker who witnessed the incident on a condition of anonymity downplayed the report saying as “only a minor accident”.

“What was reported on the newspaper is a total exaggeration” he said adding “unlike was reported it was just a slight touch and the Ethiopian plane has soon after resumed its service after a little maintenance.”

In an attempt to realize its ambition of being continent’s leading air travel company and expand its fleet and broaden its network, the Ethiopian airline is investing in additional planes.

A year ago, the Ethiopian Airlines, one of the fastest growing airlines in the industry, ordered five Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, at a cost of $1.3 billion. Since November it has received two of five ordered, making the horn nation the first African carrier to own and operate the long-range aircraft.

According to the Ethiopian airliner, using the 777-200LR, the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft, the flag carrier will be able to make a non-stop flight to new long-haul destinations such as Washington, D.C. and Beijing.

Manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Powered by General Electric GE90-115 engines, the 777-200LR is the world’s largest twin engine and long-range airliner with a capacity of connecting any two cities nonstop. It is the world’s largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven".

The aircraft seats over 300 passengers and has a range from 5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles (9,695 to 17,370 km) depending on the model.

Ethiopian Airlines is also the first airline in Africa to operate with Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Currently it has 46 aircraft operating and another 36 on order.