Out of Africa

As I mentioned recently, I had the chance to fly to Ethiopia on Ethiopian Airlines’ new 777-200LR — the first -200LR to be delivered to an African carrier.

During the trip, we filmed a video blog to share some of my experiences on the flight over.

The trip was everything I could have hoped for: The flight was perfect; the people treated me wonderfully; I enjoyed the food (and we know how important that is).

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Cake-cutting during the landing ceremony in Addis Ababa with Ato Girma Wake, CEO Ethiopian Airlines; His Excellency Ato Seyoum Mesfin, the former Foreign Minister of Ethiopia and Chairman of the Board for Ethiopian Airlines; and Robert Morin, vice president, Transportation Division, Export-Import Bank of the United States

When we arrived, we were hosted to an exciting landing ceremony that included a flower greeting, a brief press conference and a cake-cutting — it truly was an honor to be there.

The airline also hosted a celebration dinner that featured a special Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Once I arrived, I had the chance to serve on a panel on improving the customer experience at at the Africa Airlines Association’s annual General Assembly.

And I had the opportunity to present our latest Africa market outlook to some assembled media.

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My hosts at Ethiopian Airlines, including these two flight attendants at the landing ceremony, could not have been more welcoming.

It was exciting news: We project that African airlines will need more than 700 new airplanes valued at approximately $80 billion for the next 20 years.

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Meeting with the media in Addis Ababa

That’s great for the region, because it means airlines will experience steady growth as air travel grows with the African economy and helps stimulate economic development.

It’s been much too long since I last was in Africa — it was a wonderful trip and I hope to get back soon!

Comments (5)

Rob Faye (Seattle WA):

Great report Randy. It was a pleasure to spend the flight and a few days with you in Addis Ababa, talking about airplanes and other interesting topics. This was one of the smoothest rides I have ever experienced (including the landing), and I have logged a few miles. I agree the food was good (really, it was...) and the crew sensational. Truly a wonderful experience.

Jon Lewis (Seattle, Washington):

A bit of history . . . July 1962 I flew out of Asmara, Eritrea, Ethiopia on the first Ethiopian Airline flight to have an Ethiopian pilot in the left seat as plane captain. How far they have come.

Flew north, stopping at Port Sudan, Cairo, and Athens, Rome, and finally Paris.

Donald Craig (Charleston, SC):

I am very excited about the opportunity for Boeing products in Africa. It sounds like you are too! I am especially excited for the 787s we are building here in South Carolina. Please let us know how we are progressing toward delivering this aircraft to customers in Africa.

Larry Friday (Oklahoma City):

Brings back a lot of memories. I was stationed in Asmara (in Eritrea, an Ethiopian province at the time but now the country of Eritrea) for 22 months back in 1969-71. Very much enjoyed the coffee and the food.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The range and reliability of the 777-200ER is a secure choice for the none stop service between Washington DC and Addis Ababa. Ethiopian Airlines has numerous advantages with the 777-200LR to open new routs for distant non stop service to virtually anywhere in the world.

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