Ethiopian Airlines has ordered an additional 11 Boeing 787-9s and 20 737-8s on the second day of the Dubai Airshow. As well as the firm order, the airline has also added options for a further 15 and 21 of the types, respectively.
The deal represents the largest Boeing aircraft purchase by an African airline and marks over 75 years of collaboration between the two companies.
An agreement has also been reached with the US manufacturer to upgrade the cabins of its existing Boeing 787 fleet. According to Boeing: “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.” Thales will provide the new IFE system, and a decision on who will develop the economy-class seat is expected shortly.
Ethiopian is the largest airline in Africa, serving 133 international destinations with a fleet of over 130 aircraft made of Airbus, Boeing and De Havilland types. According to its website, the carrier currently boasts a fleet of 19 787-8s and 10 of the larger -9s. It also has 13 737-8s in service plus a further 13 on order.
“We are pleased to announce that Ethiopian Airlines has reached a deal with Boeing to place a firm order for 31 ultra-modern aeroplanes, with the opportunity for 36 additional jets,” Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr Mesfin Tasew said. “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 aeroplanes.”
Boeing's senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing, Brad McMullen, added: “Ethiopian Airlines continues its leadership as one of Africa’s preeminent airlines with this landmark commitment to expand their 787 and 737 MAX fleets.”
Deliveries of the new airframes are expected to commence in 2026 and run until 2030. In the meantime, it will lease additional airframes to make up for any capacity shortfalls.