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Ethiopian Airlines takes a leap into the future with Boeing 777X fleet expansion

written by Newsdesk | March 6, 2024

Ethiopian Airlines takes a leap into the future with Boeing 777X fleet expansion

Ethiopian Airlines Group has embarked on a significant expansion of its widebody fleet by entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Boeing, the world’s leading aerospace company. This agreement, announced on March 5, 2024, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, marks the airline as the first African customer for the highly fuel-efficient 777X passenger jet, comprising a purchase commitment for eight 777-9 airplanes with the option for up to 12 additional aircraft.

Ethiopian Airlines, already holding the title of Africa’s largest airline, aims to enhance its modern fleet, building on its strategic 2023 order of 11 787 Dreamliner and 20 737 MAX airplanes. The acquisition of the 777X signifies the carrier’s ongoing effort to lead African aviation through the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. This initiative enhances both their service offerings and customer satisfaction, while also emphasising a commitment to operational performance and environmental sustainability.

“We are pleased to continue setting the trend in African aviation for adopting cutting-edge technologies to enhance our services and customer satisfaction,” expressed Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Mr. Mesfin Tasew. He highlighted the 777-9’s capabilities, including more flexibility, reduced fuel consumption, and carbon emissions, expressing gratitude towards Boeing for their enduring support.

The Boeing 777-9, distinct for its new carbon-fiber composite wings and advanced engine technologies, promises an approximate 10% improvement in fuel efficiency and operating costs compared to competitors. This aircraft is poised to support Ethiopian Airlines’ strategic growth objectives, including fleet expansion and market reach across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. This aligns with the airline’s Vision 2035, eyeing more than 209 international destinations serviced by a fleet of over 271 modern, eco-friendly aircraft.

Brad McMullen, Boeing Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing, commended Ethiopian Airlines’ pioneering decision, underscoring a relationship spanning 75 years. “Ethiopian Airlines marks yet another first in our longstanding partnership by selecting the 777-9 to be the flagship of its growing fleet,” he remarked, acknowledging the airline’s trust in Boeing aircraft.

Ethiopian Airlines’ current fleet, predominantly comprised of Boeing aircraft, includes 29 787 Dreamliners, 20 777s, 27 Next-Generation 737s, 15 737 MAX, and 3 767 jets. Both entities are exploring further collaboration to enhance Ethiopia’s aerospace sector, touching on maintenance, repair, overhaul (MRO) capabilities, industrial development, and education, including support for the Ethiopian Aviation University.


In light of Boeing’s Commercial Market Outlook, which predicts a 7% growth in Africa’s air traffic through 2042, Ethiopian Airlines’ 777-9 fleet addition is well-positioned to capitalize on this growth, offering extended range and enhanced features for passengers with its impressive reach of 13,510 km (7,295 nautical miles), enabling direct flights from Addis Ababa to distant locations like Seattle in the U.S.


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