Ethiopian Airlines Signs Deal for Up to 20 Boeing 777-9 Aircraft

Ethiopian Airlines, the leading airline in Africa, has finalized a landmark agreement with Boeing to acquire as many as 20 777-9 airplanes. This arrangement positions Ethiopian Airlines as the inaugural customer for the 777X series on the African continent.

In a move to augment its fleet with Boeing’s most advanced widebody aircraft, the partnership between Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines continues to evolve, building on a foundation that spans several decades. Solidifying its status as Boeing’s premier African client, the carrier from East Africa has committed to buying eight 777-9 aircraft, with the potential to expand the order to an additional 12 jets.

Ethiopian Airlines

This comes after the airline’s significant agreement last year to acquire as many as 31 new Boeing planes, encompassing 20 737 MAXs and 11 787 Dreamliners. Aiming to nearly double its fleet by 2035 as part of its long-term expansion plan, the carrier has taken a substantial step forward. Commenting on the substantial 777X purchase, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Ato Mesfin Tasew, stated:

We are pleased to continue setting the trend in African aviation by adopting cutting-edge technologies to enhance our services and customer satisfaction. Improving our operational performance and commitment to environmental sustainability, the 777-9 offers more flexibility, reduced fuel consumption and carbon emissions. We are grateful to Boeing for their long-standing partnership and support, and we eagerly anticipate flying the 777-9 across the African skies and beyond.

CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Ato Mesfin Tasew

Boeing is confident that its latest widebody aircraft is ideally matched to bolster the East African airline’s ambitions for fleet rejuvenation and expansion. Drawing from the technological advancements of both the 777 and the 787 — aircraft types currently operated by Ethiopian Airlines — the 777-9 introduces new carbon fiber composite wings and engines. These enhancements are projected to deliver a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency and operating expenses over its competitors in the same class. Brad McMullen, Boeing’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing, remarked:

Ethiopian Airlines marks yet another first in our longstanding partnership by selecting the 777-9 to be the flagship of its growing fleet. Building on a relationship that goes back 75 years, we deeply value the unwavering trust and confidence Ethiopian Airlines puts in our airplanes.

Brad McMullen, Boeing’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing

Embracing Advanced Technology

Ethiopian Airlines

As the aviation market in Africa is expected to see considerable growth over the next two decades, Boeing forecasts that African airlines will acquire over 1,000 new planes to facilitate this expansion. This forecast includes the acquisition of more than 700 new single-aisle jets and nearly 300 new widebody aircraft. Notably, around 90% of these new aircraft will belong to the newer, more efficient families of the 737 MAX, 787 Dreamliner, and 777X.

Ethiopian Airlines is proactively enhancing its technology to improve the passenger experience and minimize its environmental impact. Beyond supplying airplanes, Boeing’s collaboration with Ethiopian spans various domains, including Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) services, industrial advancements, and educational and training initiatives through the Ethiopian Airlines University (EAU).


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