The 16 June, 2019, a Sunday, marked a very special occasion for Smartwings and more importantly, Prague airport. An Ethiopian Airlines Airbus A350-900 was leased by Smartwings to operate on their PRG to HER route and back. Not only did this allow Smartwings to recover some capacity, but it market the first time an Airbus A350 landed at Prague airport.
This service was commissioned due to the fact that Smartwings are struggling to operate their routes due to the grounding of all their 737- MAX aircraft.
The aircraft arrived at around 09:30 UTC from Frankfurt (FRA) where it had dropped off passengers travelling from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The aircraft was then greeted by a water cannon salute to celebrate its arrival at Prague.
After a short stop, the A350 continued on to Heraklion as QS1104 and then returned as QS1105 before going back to Frankfurt where it would take passengers to Addis Ababa.
The Ethiopian A350 is laid out in a 2 class configuration with 313 economy seats and 30 lie flat business class seats, nearly all of which were filled on both Smartwings flights.
It has been reported that this will not be a one off occurrence and that other Ethiopian aircraft will be used to help out during the summer season.
All photos by author, special thanks to AeroNewsX photographer, Anton Lindros for helping out.