Ethiopian To Remove Airbus A350 From Toronto Route

Ethiopian Airlines has removed its flagship Airbus A350 aircraft from its Addis Ababa – Toronto route October onwards, replacing the aircraft with an older Boeing 777-200LR.

“Sahara” taxing via Quebec for take-off, Runway 23, Toronto enroute to Addis Ababa. Photo: Flickr

What are the details?

According to Routes Online, Ethiopian Airways has decided to cycle out the Airbus A350-900 that was assigned to its direct Addis Ababa – Toronto route and replace it with a Boeing-777LR.

Ethiopian To Remove Airbus A350 From Toronto Route
The route operated by the older Boeing 777-200LR. Photo: GCMaps

This change will come into effect on October 27th this year and will have the following new frequency:

Flight number: ET502
Departing: Addis Ababa at 2300 PM
Arriving: 0430 AM (next day) in Dublin. Departs Dublin at 0515 AM and arrives in Toronto at 0745 AM.

The return flight: ET503
Departing: Toronto at 1000 AM
Arriving: 0700 AM Addis Ababa

The service will operate outbound every day apart from Tuesday and Sunday. The return flight will miss Monday and Wednesday.

As you can see from the schedule above, the outbound flight needs to perform a technical stop in Dublin.

Does the Boeing 777-200LR have the same range as an Airbus A350-900?

The Boeing 777-200LR actually has a longer range than the newer Airbus A350-900.

  • The Boeing 777-200LR can carry 315 passengers in a three-class configuration. This is 28 business class and 287 economy class passengers) to a range of 8,555 nmi / 15,843 km
  • The Airbus A350-900 can carry 315 passengers in a long haul configuration (comprising of 48 business class seats and 267 economy seats) to a range of 15,000 km / 8,100 nmi

Technically the distance between Addis Ababa and Toronto is 7131 miles / 11476.23 km / 6196.67 nautical miles and easily within reach of both aircraft. It is not clear why Ethiopian chooses to stop at Dublin on the way north as technically this increases the journey time by another hour (on top of the hour layover). It might be a holdover from their previous Los Angeles – Dublin – Addis Ababa service which operated as a fifth freedom flight.

It gets stranger when you realize that Ethiopian offers a direct service on their Boeing 777-200LR to Washington DC without a layover.

What is the difference in terms of service?

Passengers might find the replacement Boeing 777-200LR to be a little more aged than the new A350-900XWB

Business-class is made up of in a 2-3-2 configuration, without direct aisle access for window seats. This means that the strange throne seat in the middle of the business class cabin has made a comeback (likewise on Turkish Airways 777 fleet) and might make the journey a little awkward for those used to their own privacy in business class.

Ethiopian To Remove Airbus A350 From Toronto Route
The business class as featured on the Ethiopian Airlines A350. Photo: Ethiopian business class Boeing 787 / Wikimedia

“State of the art on-demand Audio and Video services with 15.4 inch IFE screens and 85 channels in Cloud Nine and 8.9 inch and 80 different channels in Economy Class, offering an array of entertainment to passengers of all age.” – Ethiopian Website

But passengers might miss the improvements of the A350, such as quieter engines, better humidity and mood LED lighting. The A350 fleet also has a much more modern business cabin with a 2-2-2 configuration.

What do you think about this service? Do you think this is the right move by the airline? Let us know in the comments.