Ethiopian Airlines pilots are the first African pilots working for an Africa based airline to have trained on and converted to the revolutionary new B787 Dreamliner, it was learned overnight. Ethiopian will be Boeings launch customer for Africa and the first 8 pilots have now completed training at the Boeing Flight Services Academy at Gatwick Airport in the UK. Additional groups of ET pilots will be undergoing type conversion in coming weeks, after the FAA has granted Boeing the requisite approvals to provide flight training. A media release from Boeing in fact pointed out that the required training before being certified on the new plane can be as little as 5 days for pilots already operating the B777, but in no case is a longer period than 20 days required as a result of the commonalities which exist between the two aircraft types.
Ethiopian is expected to take delivery of their first of 10 ordered B787 Dreamliner in 2012, making it the debut on the continent and the first African airline to integrate this new plane into their fleet, allowing capacity increases as progressively the aged B767 fleet will be retired upon deliveries of the new birds.
Desta Zeru, Senior Vice President Flight Operations at Ethiopian Airlines was quoted to have said: This is an important milestone in the history of Ethiopian Airlines. Our pilots are now qualified as the first African pilots to fly the 787.