Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s flagship carrier, made aviation headlines on the second day of the Dubai Airshow 2023 by finalizing its largest-ever aircraft purchase agreement with Boeing. The deal includes 11 state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 20 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with an option to increase the order by an additional 36 planes.
Following the tragic 2019 crash involving a 737 MAX 8, Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing have mended their partnership, marking a significant milestone in the aftermath of global MAX groundings.
The signed agreement outlines the acquisition of 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8s and eleven Boeing 787-9s, a substantial increase to Ethiopian Airlines’ current fleet of 13 MAX and 10 Dreamliner aircraft. The carrier’s fleet, primarily Boeing-dominated, is set to undergo further expansion with the potential addition of 15 Dreamliners and 21 737 MAX aircraft through purchase options.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Mesfin Tasew expressed enthusiasm, stating, “We are pleased to announce that Ethiopian Airlines has reached a deal with Boeing to place a firm order for 31 ultra-modern airplanes, with an opportunity for 36 additional jets.” This landmark commitment positions Ethiopian Airlines as a key player in Africa’s aviation landscape.
Despite challenges, the enduring partnership between Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines continues to evolve. Brad McMullen, Boeing’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing, remarked, “Ethiopian Airlines continues its leadership as one of Africa’s preeminent airlines with this landmark commitment to expand its 787 and 737 MAX fleets.”
Boeing-Ethiopian Partnership: Enhancements and Retrofitting
Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines, long-term partners, are not only strengthening their aircraft ties but also collaborating on retrofitting the existing 787 Dreamliner fleet. This initiative involves modifying passenger cabins, including the installation of a new in-flight entertainment system and upgraded seating, featuring lie-flat models for business class.
Ethiopian’s new 787-9s will be configured with 315 seats, including 30 in business class and 285 in economy. Meanwhile, the 737 MAX 8s boast a capacity for 160 passengers, with 16 in business class and 144 in economy.
Dubai Airshow 2023
The announcement at the Dubai Airshow reflects a broader trend of recovery for the aviation industry, with 1,400 exhibitors, including 400 first-time participants and over 80 start-ups. The event, held at Dubai-World Central Airport from November 13th to 17th, 2023, signals the industry’s resurgence after pandemic-related challenges.