Ethiopian Airlines at Kilimanjaro Airport
© Yoni Lerner

Ethiopia’s flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with manufacturing giant Boeing outlining its intention to purchase five Boeing 777-8 freighters.

The MoU points to an intention by Africa’s largest airline to expand its freighting capability as a means of bolstering its long term recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Tewolde Gebremariam, the head of the airline commented:

“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.”

Boeing HQ in Chicago
Ethiopian’s intent to order the aircraft demonstrates its value, according to Boeing’s head of sales | © Raysonho

Ihssane Mounir, head of Commercial Sales and Marketing at Boeing added that the airline “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.”

Ethiopian to remain “key player” in global cargo

He went on to say that Ethiopian’s latest commitment goes to show the value of our latest airplane and will stand Ethiopian in good stead in ensuring it remains a key player in global cargo.

The 777-8 is considered by many to be the most fuel-efficient and capable twin-engine freighter aircraft available.

The Seattle-based manufacturer introduced the latest of its freighters two months ago and has already confirmed 34 firm orders. The new models boast state-of-the-art technology from the 777X class and the proven performance of the market-leading 777 freighter.

30% improvement in fuel efficiency

According to Boeing, the new aircraft offers an almost identical payload capacity to previous models along with improvements in fuel efficiency and operational efficiencies of almost a third.

From its hub in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city, the airline has operated nine 777 freighters, serving cargo hubs in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North and South America.

Following recent trends of adapting existing aircraft for freighting purposes, the airline’s fleet also features three converted Boeing 737-800 freighters.

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