Decision time is nearing at Ethiopian Airlines for fleet additions


(Posted 10th November 2016)

Information from Addis Ababa suggests that Ethiopian Airlines may decide over the next few weeks about an order for a new jet aircraft type in the 100+ seat range.
Favourite for the decision, going by past order patterns at Ethiopian Airlines, would be the Bombardier C-Series, which after the most recent type approval for the CS300 also has the CS100 on offer, an aircraft already flying with Swiss as the global launch customer.
Ethiopian already flies 15 Bombardier Q400NG’s and has more such aircraft on order, giving rise to speculation that the alternative, Embraer’s new E190’s, may not get the nod to stay with just three manufacturers, i.e. Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier rather than adding a fourth.
A decision is also nearing, though not imminent, about Ethiopian’s interest in the new Boeing B777X which is expected to be made in early 2017.
Ethiopian was African launch customer for Boeing’s B787 Dreamliner and could do the same for the B777X, after being the first in Africa to also fly the present B777 aircraft family.
The upcoming order for smaller jets is very likely a result of recognizing the limitations of the Q400 turboprop fleet for longer medium distance African routes, where competitors fly jets like the Bombardier CRJ’s or Embraer’s E190’s with Ethiopian not able to compete more effectively in this market segment.

Ethiopian Airlines enjoys the largest share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network and is operating one of the youngest and most modern fleet to 95 international destinations across five continents. Ethiopian’s fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Airbus A350, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter, Bombardier Q-400 dual cabin with an average fleet age of five years.

Ethiopian Airlines is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading aviation group in Africa with seven business centers: Ethiopian Domestic and Regional Airline; Ethiopian International Passenger Airline; Ethiopian Cargo; Ethiopian MRO; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; Ethiopian In-flight Catering Services; and Ethiopian Ground Service. Ethiopian is a multi-award winning airline registering an average growth of 25% in the past seven years. The airline has also consistently posted profits as the only African airline to do so.