LONDON – Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understating with Boeing to purchase five of the U.S manufacturer’s newly announced 777-8 Freighter. The aircraft is part of the new Boeing 777X range and is the natural replacement for cargo operators flying the current 777 freighters, with its ultra-modern engines and higher fuel efficiency, making it greener and more economical aircraft for airlines.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said: “Consistent with our history of aviation technology leadership in Africa, we are pleased to sign this MoU with our longstanding partner Boeing, which will make us join select group of launch customer airlines for the fleet. In our vision 2035, we are planning to expand our Cargo and Logistics business to be one of the largest global multimodal logistics provider in all continents. To this effect, we are increasing our dedicated freighter fleet with the latest technology, fuel-efficient, and environment-friendly airplanes of the 21st century. We have also started the construction of the largest E-commerce Hub Terminal in Africa,”
“The new 777-8 Freighters will be instrumental in this long journey of growth agenda. Today, our air cargo services cover more than 120 international destinations around the world with both belly-hold capacity and dedicated freighter services.”
Ethiopian current operates nine Boeing 777 Freighters for its cargo fleet, which is connecting the African based airline with more than 40 cargo centers throughout Europe, Asia, The Middle East, and the Americas, in addition to the 777F the carrier currently utilizes three Boeing 737-800 P2F (passenger to freighter) conversation aircraft, which combined with its commercial passenger options give it a fleet of more than 80 aircraft.
Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing said: “Ethiopian Airlines has been at the forefront of Africa’s cargo market for decades, growing its fleet of Boeing freighters and connecting the continent to the flow of global commerce, the intent to purchase the new 777-8 Freighter further underscores the value of our latest airplane and ensures Ethiopian will remain a key player in global cargo, providing it with increased capacity, flexibility and efficiency for the future.”
Africa is one of the largest and fastest expanding aviation markets in the globe, with Boeing forecasting its estimated value to be in the region of $400 billion over the next 20 years, with them saying it expects more than 80% of that forecast will come from the purchase of newer more efficient modern aircraft such as the 737 MAX and 777X Family aircraft.
Only time will tell now as to whether or not the success of this new Boeing freighter will keep its current planned orders, with Airbus also launching the A350 freighter program and with the delays that still plague the 777X it will be a key moment for Boeing as it looks to keep its large market share of the African aviation market.