Ethiopian Airlines aircraft orders underpin aggressive growth plan

The aicraft orders by Ethiopian Airlines at the Dubai Airshow gives a glimpse of the carrier’s growth plans, anchored around a two-pronged strategy to consolidate its position as Africa’s biggest airline.

Weighed against actions by Emirates and other airlines at the airshow, the orders of new planes reflect the race to make the most of the post-Covid-19 pandemic market and the rush to migrate to more efficient fleets as the industry braces for deep cuts in emissions starting 2035.

Ethiopian and Boeing made news Tuesday, when they announced an agreement for the purchase of 67 aircraft, comprising 36 firm orders and 41 options across the 737 and 787 families. The carrier also signed an MoU with Airbus for the purchase of 11 additional A350-900, which will take the European airplane makers portfolio at Ethiopian to 35 aircraft.

Combined, the orders in Dubai will grow the fleet to 222 aircraft over the next eight years, leaving a deficit of just 49 units short of the 271 aircraft it intends to have in operation by 2035.

Although details such as price, engine selection and finance structure are yet to be revealed, the orders represent both replacement and growth aircraft.


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