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Africa: Ethiopian Airlines Agrees to Landmark Order for up to 67 Boeing Jets

The numbers speak for themselves as Africa's largest airline ramps up for growth.

  • Agreement for 11 787 Dreamliners and 20 737 MAXs, with opportunity for 36 more jets, represents the largest Boeing jet purchase by an African carrier

  • Services collaboration for 787 cabin retrofits to enhance passenger experience


Ethiopian Airlines, the largest and leading aviation group in Africa, and its longstanding partner Boeing [NYSE:BA] today announced the carrier has agreed to order 11 787 Dreamliner and 20 737 MAX airplanes with an opportunity for 15 and 21 additional jets, respectively. The agreement, signed by Ethiopia’s national carrier at the Dubai Airshow, represents the largest-ever purchase of Boeing airplanes in African history.


“We are pleased to announce that Ethiopian Airlines has reached a deal with Boeing to place a firm order for 31 ultra-modern airplanes, with opportunity for 36 additional jets,” said Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Mesfin Tasew. “This order will enable us to modernize and increase our fleet in support of Ethiopian Airlines’ growth plan and our Vision 2035 Strategy. Through this deal, we have solidified our decades-old exemplary business partnership with Boeing. The 787 Dreamliner and 737 MAX demonstrate Ethiopian Airlines’ environmentally conscious decisions and its commitment to serve passengers with the latest technologically advanced airplanes.”


Ethiopian is ordering the 787-9 variant, part of a Dreamliner family that reduces fuel use and emissions by 25% compared to the airplanes it replaces. The carrier is also adding the 737-8 model, which reduces fuel use and emissions by 20% and creates a 50% smaller noise footprint compared to the airplanes it replaces. Both families bring better environmental performance and passenger comfort to their respective markets.


The new commitment positions Ethiopian Airlines to further strengthen and diversify its fleet, which currently includes more than 80 Boeing jets. Ethiopian operates Africa’s largest Dreamliner fleet with a mix of 787-8s and 787-9s. The new 737 MAX order, which will grow the airline’s backlog for the fuel-efficient jet to 50, will be posted on Boeing's Orders & Deliveries website when finalized.


Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines also agreed to work together to provide cabin modification services for the carrier’s existing 787 Dreamliners. The comprehensive retrofits will enhance the passenger experience with advanced in-flight entertainment and new seats in all cabins, including lie-flat business-class seats from Boeing joint venture Adient Aerospace.


“Ethiopian Airlines continues its leadership as one of Africa’s preeminent airlines with this landmark commitment to expand their 787 and 737 MAX fleets,” said Brad McMullen, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. “Ethiopian was the first African airline to take delivery of the 787, and the Dreamliner family continues to play an integral role in its long-haul fleet. With their decades of experience operating our single-aisle and widebody jets, we appreciate Ethiopian Airlines’ confidence in our products and the strength of our relationship after more than 75 years of collaboration.”


The 787-9 can fly 296 passengers 14,010 km (7,565 nautical miles), in addition to carrying substantial cargo. Since revenue service began in 2011, the 787 family has launched more than 380 new nonstop routes around the world. The 737-8 carries up to 210 passengers depending on configuration and offers a range of up to 6,480 km (3,500 nautical miles).

Boeing’s Commercial Market Outlook forecast for Africa projects the continent will need 1,025 airplanes over the next two decades; more than 70% of commercial deliveries are expected to be single-aisle jets. Africa’s overall air-traffic growth is forecast at 7.4% through 2042, third-highest among global regions and above the global average growth rate of 6.1%.

 

About Ethiopian

Ethiopian Airlines Group (Ethiopian) is the fastest-growing airlines brand globally and the continent’s largest airline brand. In its seventy-seven years of successful operations, Ethiopian, the fastest growing airline, has become one of the continent’s leading carriers, unrivalled in efficiency and operational success. In addition to its main hub in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it is also pursuing its multi-hub strategy through a hub in Lomé, Togo with ASKY, in Lilongwe, Malawi with Malawi Airlines and in Lusaka, Zambia with Zambia Airways. Ethiopian commands the lion’s share of the African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 150 domestic and international passenger and cargo destinations across five continents. Ethiopian’s fleet category consists of ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Boeing 737s, 777s, 787s, Airbus A350-900 and Bombardier Dash 8-400 double cabin with an average fleet age of seven years. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate most of these aircraft. 


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