Ethiopian Set To Only Operate The 787 To Johannesburg


Ethiopian Airlines is turning its mainline route between Addis Ababa – Johannesburg into an exclusive Dreamliner service, swapping out a Boeing 737 and Airbus A350 with Boeing 787s.

Passengers now flying on the route will be able to fly exclusively on 787s. Photo: Getty Images

What are the details?

Currently, Ethiopian flies between Addis Ababa (ADD) and Johannesburg (JNB) three times a day. But what is fascinating is that, until March 29th, you had the option to either fly onboard a Boeing 737-800, a Boeing 787-8 or an Airbus A350XWB.

The three times a day daily route. Photo: GCMaps

No other route in their entire network has a less consistent hard product, range of aircraft nor dynamic changing premium availability. In one morning you might fly on either a stuffy single-aisle narrowbody aircraft only to switch around to lie-flat seating on a cutting edge widebody on the return.

Naturally, passengers in premium will much prefer the lie-flat experience for the five hour and 25-minute journey and should have seen the Boeing 737-800 on the rotation as a bee lurking in the rose bushes, so to speak.

But now that fear is gone, with the removal of the Boeing 737-800 and replacement with a Boeing 787-8. Ethiopian Airlines has also replaced the Airbus A350 with another new 787-9, ensuring a consistent product on the route.

“We were the first airline to bring jet service to Africa and now we are the first to bring this game-changing environmental leader, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, to the continent. And while this is an entirely new aircraft, one thing that will never change is our warm Ethiopian hospitality.” – Ethiopian Airlines statement on the 787.


Will there be any secluding changes?

According to Routesonline, the three daily flights will have the same schedules as before, with the new 787-9 leaving first in the morning from ADD at 0840. This will be followed by the two 787-8 services at 1530 and 2330 (overnight) respectively. The change to a fleet of 787 Dreamliners is great for those who normally took the overnight flight between the two capital cities in business class, as now they know they are getting a lie-flat bed.

For the other passengers heading northbound on the return, they have a choice of a 787-8 at 0820, followed by the lunch return of the 787-9 at 1410 and then the night flight of the 787-8 flying back up. The two 787-8s cross paths in the night.


These flights are daily and the fleet change over will occur on March 29th, this year (2020).

What is the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 like?

Ethiopian Airlines has two cabins onboard its Boeing 787 fleet; Cloud Nine business, and economy.

Cloud Nine business is set out in a 2-2-2 configuration with 74 inches of pitch. This pitch depth is actually pretty fantastic compared to other airlines that have a reduced pitch in seat mode than more in lie-flat (looking at you Singapore Airlines). However, it is missing some features that you would come to expect from award-winning cabins like suites, doors, privacy and the much sought-after direct aisle access.

The Cloud Nine business class. Photo: Ethiopian Airlines

Economy is in a 3-3-3 configuration with 33 inches of seat pitch. This economy is equally generous with its legroom and is much nicer than the 31 inches of seat pitch found on other international carriers economy configuration onboard their 787s (Qantas for one).

What do you think of this news? Will you be flying onboard the 787? Let us know in the comments.