More aircraft orders will keep Ethiopian on top of the African aviation league


(Posted 18th September 2014)

Ethiopian Airlines is expected to make a major announcement as early as this weekend over the future replacement of their narrow body fleet of B737-700/800NG’s and from reliable sources it will be the B737MAX, the neo version of Boeing’s most successful and best-selling jet.

While ET certainly looked at the economics of the Airbus A320Neo family, and in fact has some Airbus A350XWB-900’s on order, the replacement of their current B737 fleet will no doubt be this aircraft’s upgraded version, in part at least for being an age long Boeing customer and then of course for operating one of Africa’ best reputed Boeing aircraft maintenance and repair organization at the airline’s hub in Addis Ababa.

The order, when announced, is expected to be a major one in terms of numbers and while no particulars have been obtained about the delivery dates, it can be expected that Ethiopian will try to be among the early birds to take delivery of the new aircraft type to cash in on operational savings. First deliveries, all going according to plan of the new B737MAX, are expected in 2017 by which time some of the early versions of the currently used B737-700.800’s may be due for retirement. Indications are, that ET may sign for up to 20 firm orders for the B737MAX version with very likely some added options to keep the foot in the door for more deliveries and meet their target for a fleet of about 150 aircraft by 2025.

Also on the drawing board are additional orders for the B787 Dreamliner and the B777X version to cater for an aggressive growth plan linking Africa to the world via Addis Ababa.

Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from across the continent.

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