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Faith Nyasuguta

Boeing has selected Ethiopia as the preferred location for its African headquarters, establishing a significant presence on the continent. 

The American aerospace giant, renowned for designing, manufacturing, and servicing commercial aircraft, had considered Kenya, South Africa, and Ethiopia as potential hosts for its continental branch. Ultimately, Ethiopia’s exemplary aviation safety record, among the best in Africa, influenced Boeing’s decision, according to

Despite facing recent challenges, Ethiopian Airlines has consistently demonstrated its commitment to Boeing. Last year, the airline placed orders for 11 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 20 Boeing 737 Max airplanes as part of its fleet modernization strategy. These orders indicate the strong relationship between Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing, highlighting the airline’s confidence in Boeing’s aircraft and services.


In anticipation of this new development, Boeing appointed Henok Shawl to lead its Africa division. Shawl, who previously served at Ethiopian Airlines, was chosen for his extensive experience in the aviation and telecommunications sectors. His leadership is expected to drive Boeing’s growth and operations across the African continent.

Boeing emphasized the continent’s abundant natural resources and burgeoning young workforce as pivotal factors poised to drive significant growth in air traffic and airplane demand over the next two decades. 

In March, Ethiopian Airlines made history by becoming the first African customer for Boeing’s 777X. The airline’s CEO, Mesfin Tasew, announced a firm order for eight 777-9 aircraft, with options for an additional 12 of these large jetliners, each designed to accommodate over 400 passengers. 

This substantial order, valued at approximately $11 billion, provides Boeing with significant sales momentum as it works to complete the certification of the long-anticipated jet family. Boeing has amassed a total of 453 orders for the 777X family, with nearly half of that backlog designated for Dubai-based Emirates.


Ethiopian Airlines plans to deploy the 777-9, the largest-ever twin-engine airliner, to serve high-demand markets in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. The airline’s existing fleet already includes over half Boeing models, such as 15 737 Max jets, further solidifying its reliance on Boeing’s aircraft.

In the previous year, Boeing delivered 528 commercial airplanes and received 1,576 net orders. The company boasts a market capitalization of USD 107 billion as of May 2024. Boeing projects that African carriers will require an estimated 1,030 new aircraft over the next 20 years to uphold international standards and meet the growing demand.

In support of this growth, Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines have signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at enhancing airline operations and developing four key areas: industrial development, advanced aviation training, educational partnerships, and leadership development. 

This partnership is expected to bolster the aviation industry’s infrastructure and workforce across Africa, positioning both Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines as leaders in the continent’s rapidly evolving aviation sector.

This strategic move to establish headquarters in Ethiopia signifies Boeing’s commitment to Africa’s aviation future, leveraging the continent’s potential and addressing its growing needs in air travel and aircraft demand.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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Wittman Regional Airport, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA – July 29, 2011: Boeing 787 taxing to runway for takeoff at the Air-Venture airshow.