Ethiopian Airlines closed its largest aircraft order to date with Boeing during the second day of the Dubai Airshow. Ethiopia’s national carrier has reached an agreement for 31 new aircraft and 36 purchase options for the 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner models.
According to the signed agreement, 20 737 MAX 8 and eleven 787-9 will be received, considerably expanding the fleet of both, currently with 13 and 10 aircraft, respectively – Ethiopian still has 19 787-8 in service.
Purchase options include 15 Dreamliners and 21 737 MAX, of which it already has 50 aircraft in its order book.
“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 opportunity for 36 additional jets,” said Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Mesfin Tasew.
“Ethiopian Airlines continues its leadership as one of Africa’s preeminent airlines with this landmark commitment to expand its 787 and 737 MAX fleets,” said Brad McMullen, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing.
Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines have been partners for several years, a relationship that, although strained after the fatal crash of a 737 MAX 8 in 2018, continues to create new opportunities.
The two companies agreed to work together to retrofit the 787 Dreamliners in operation, which will have modified passenger cabins. The plan is to install a new in-flight entertainment system and new seats, including lie-flat models for business class.
Ethiopian’s 787-9s are configured with 315 seats, 30 in business class and 285 in economy, while the 737 MAX 8 have capacity for 160 passengers (16 in business class and 144 in economy).
The Ethiopian Airlines fleet is dominated by Boeing aircraft, with the exception of the A350 option for long-haul flights. The airline has 20 A350-900 models in service in addition to an order for four A350-1000s pending delivery.