Ethiopian Airlines has entered into a significant agreement with Boeing, announcing the purchase of 20 737 MAX aircraft and an additional 11 787 Dreamliners during the Dubai Air Show.
According to the Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Mesfin Tasew, this deal marks only the initial phase of their fleet renewal process, with expectations to order more planes in the coming years.
“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 CEO Tasew.
“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.”
Tasew anticipates exercising options to buy an additional 21 narrow-body planes, along with purchase options for 15 more 787-9 Dreamliner jets.
The airline is poised to reveal an order for wide-body jets, choosing between the Boeing 777X and Airbus A350, in the upcoming months. However, the exact number of wide-body jets remains undisclosed.
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.
Addressing concerns about the 2019 MAX crash, Tasew expressed renewed confidence in the single-aisle aircraft. Acknowledging the tragedy, he emphasized that the design defect causing the accident has been fully rectified by Boeing.
Ethiopian Airlines has thoroughly checked and confirmed the corrections, restoring their trust in the MAX aircraft.
The March 2019 737 MAX crash resulted in the loss of all 157 lives on board shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa. This incident, the second involving a Boeing MAX in under five months, prompted a global grounding of all MAX jets for nearly two years.
Boeing, facing significant financial repercussions and legal challenges, has since addressed the flaws in the certification process.
Boeing lauded this deal as the most substantial purchase of their aircraft in African history, although the exact financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed.
The announcement reflects Ethiopian Airlines’ strategic approach to modernizing its fleet and restoring confidence in Boeing’s MAX series after the comprehensive corrections made to enhance safety.