Ethiopian To Fly A350 To London, Qatar Airways Postpones A Route & Norwegian Schedules 787-9 Service

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A roundup of some of the airline news I’ve noticed in the past few days including: Ethiopian Airlines planing to serve London with an A350, Qatar Airways postponing a route that’s been taking reservations for months and Norwegian scheduling flights to both the US and Asia with its brand new 787-9 Dreamliners.

Ethiopian Airlines Upgrades London Route To An A350

Ethiopian Airlines currently operates its daily service between Addis Ababa and London with a mix of Boeing 777-200LR and 787 aircraft but, from 14 August, that aircraft is going to be replaced by a shiny new Airbus A350.

ethiopian-airways-a350-bob-adamsEthiopian Airways A350 – image courtesy of Bob Adams via Flickr

Ethiopian received its first A350 back on 29 June and is only getting its second later this month so you’re not going to find too many newer A350s flying in and out of London.

The Ethiopian Airlines #A350 comes in a 2-class layout with 30 Business Class and 318 Economy Class seats and will be a huge upgrade from the 777 that operates some of the flights on this route.

Occasionally 787s that Ethiopian flys to/from London have the airline’s new lie-flat Business Class seats but not all of them do….and the the older 777-200LR definitely doesn’t. That aircraft still has antiquated angled seating that has no place in a modern Business Class cabin.

The 777 also comes in a dense 2-3-2 layout while the Dreamliner and the new A350 appear to come in a more acceptable 2-2-2 configuration:Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 17.12.10

The only image of Ethiopian Airlines’ newer Business Class seat that I’ve been able to find is this….

ethiopian-airlines-new-business-class-seatEthiopian Airlines New Business Class Seat

…..and that’s what I’m assuming will be in the A350….which doesn’t look too bad.

Ok, so the airline still doesn’t offer all-aisle-access in its A350 Business Class cabin but at least the center section offers that.

Overall this is a nice upgrade for anyone flying Ethiopian to/from London….now lets hope the airline retrofits the new Business Class seats to more of its aircraft.

Norwegian Starts Scheduling 787-9 Dreamliner Service

[HT: Routes Online]

Norwegian may be having a bit of trouble getting authorisation for its Ireland/UK – USA routes but that’s not stopping the airline expanding its operations out of Oslo.

The low-cost airline has started to schedule its soon-to-be-delivered 787-9 aircraft on various routes to the US and Asia and the plan is to have all flights out of Oslo operated by the larger version of the Dreamliner by late summer 2017.

Norwegian 787-9 DreamlinerNorwegian 787-9 courtesy of Norwegian

As things stand, the routes that will see 787-9 service will be:

  • From 1 June 2017 Oslo – New York JFK – initially just 3 of the 4 weekly flights increasing to all 4 flights from 6 August 2017
  • From 4 June 2017 Oslo – Los Angeles – initially just one of the 2 weekly flights increasing to both weekly flights from 2 August 2017
  • From 7 June 2017 Oslo – Bangkok 1x/week
  • From 1 August 2017 Oslo – Oakland 2x/week
  • From 3 August 2017 Oslo – Orlando 1x/week
  • From 4 August 2017 Oslo – Ft. Lauderdale 2x/week

I haven’t yet seen a seat map for the new Norwegian 787-9 Dreamliner but, as the aircraft is 20ft longer than the 787-8 that the airline currently operates on its international routes, it’s safe to say that Norwegian is adding a good amount of capacity to it’s Oslo routes….and hopefully that will be good for prices!

Qatar Airways Changes Its Mind About Chiang Mai

I was pretty excited when, on 24 May, Qatar Airways opened up reservations on the Doha Chiang Mai route because Chiang Mai is a city I’ve been meaning to visit for a while.

I realise that any number of other airlines already serve Chiang Mai but none of them has the propensity to discount Business Class fares quite like Qatar Airways and, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m always happy to see a good Qatar Airways Business Class sale.

wat-chiang-man-ciang-mai-paul-arpsWat Chiang Man in Chiang Mai – courtesy of Paul Arps via Flickr

What was even better news for me was that Qatar Airways was planning to add the Chiang Mai service to its existing Doha – Yangon route (as a fifth freedom flight) and Yangon is another city I’ve been wanting to visit for a while.

The new Qatar Airways route was meant to start on 16 December 2016 and would have been operated by the airlines A330-200 aircraft 5x/week…but that’s no longer happening.

According to the latest schedule filed by Qatar Airways, the Doha – Yangon route will see a frequency increase (from 3 to 5 flights/week) as planned but the Chiang Mai sector has been “postponed” with no new date given. I’m glad I hadn’t found a cheap enough Business Class flight to warrant a booking!

Needless to say, if you had a booking on this route and you haven’t yet heard from Qatar Airways then get in touch with them asap. If the delay surrounding their Doha – Auckland route is anything to go by the airline should be pretty good at accommodating you on other airline.