The second day of the Dubai Airshow brought more work for North Charleston Boeing employees when Ethiopian Airlines agreed to order 11 Dreamliners from the Lowcountry production line.
The African carrier’s agreement also provides an option to purchase 15 additional 787 Dreamliners. The company also is buying 20 of Boeing’s Washington-made 737 MAX planes with an option for 21 more. It is the largest-even purchase of Boeing planes by an African carrier, according to a news release.
The value of the deal was not disclosed.
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," Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew said in the news release. "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 airplanes."
Ethiopian Airlines is ordering the 787-9 variant, part of a Dreamliner family that reduces fuel use and emissions by 25% compared to the airplanes it replaces, the release stated. The carrier also is adding the 737-8 model, which reduces fuel use and emissions by 20% and creates a 50% smaller noise footprint compared to the airplanes it replaces. Both families bring better environmental performance and passenger comfort to their respective markets, according to Boeing.
Ethiopian Airlines is working to strengthen and diversify its fleet, which currently includes more than 80 Boeing jets. Ethiopian operates Africa's largest Dreamliner fleet with a mix of 787-8s and 787-9s. The new 737 MAX order, which will grow the airline's backlog for the fuel-efficient jet to 50, will be posted on Boeing's Orders & Deliveries website when finalized.
Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines also agreed to work together to provide cabin modification services for the carrier's existing 787 Dreamliners. 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.
"Ethiopian Airlines continues its leadership as one of Africa's preeminent airlines with this landmark commitment to expand their 787 and 737 MAX fleets," Brad McMullen, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing, said in the release. "Ethiopian was the first African airline to take delivery of the 787, and the Dreamliner family continues to play an integral role in its long-haul fleet. With their decades of experience operating our single-aisle and widebody jets, we appreciate Ethiopian Airlines' confidence in our products and the strength of our relationship after more than 75 years of collaboration."
Boeing's Commercial Market Outlook forecast for Africa projects the continent will need 1,025 airplanes over the next two decades; more than 70% of commercial deliveries are expected to be single-aisle jets. Africa's overall air-traffic growth is forecast at 7.4% through 2042, third-highest among global regions and above the global average growth rate of 6.1%, the release said.
Ethiopian Airlines has been in business for 77 years and is the fastest-growing airline in the world, according to the carrier’s website.s