Dual class cabin as Ethiopian upgrades turboprop offer
Ethiopian Airines and its Togo affiliate ASKY Airlines have become the first in the world to operate a two class cabin in their Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft.
Speaking at the African Airlines Association assembly in Johannesburg tonight Ethiopian CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, said the move removed one major customer barrier to using the aircraft on regional routes.
Ethiopian is the first airline to take delivery of the newly configured aircraft, which now offers seven business class and 60 economy class seats. It also has reclining seats in economy class and a hot galley, as well as more luggage capacity, extra overhead bin space and leg room. And, Tewolde pointed out, an extra lav for the business class passengers
Ethiopian operates the Q400 on 17 domestic destinations and on regional routes including Djibouti, Mombasa, Nairobi, Kilimanjaro, Dar-es-Salam, Zanzibar, Entebbe, Kigali, Juba, Khartoum and Berbera. Five re-configured Q400s are on order. The airline also plans to re-configure around half of its existing eight Q400s.
“We want to use the aircraft on some international regional routes,” Tewolde said. “But there was a need to cater for premium customers. This has solved that problem.”
“Now our Cloud Nine customers can enjoy a full business class service and our connecting passengers from Ethiopian and the Star Alliance network will benefit
from a greatly improved product in line with our continuous effort to provide a seamless travel experience,” Tewolde said.
Bombardier said that other airlines had seen the configuration and that a US airline was also now in line to make the same move.