FURTHER FLEET EXPANSION BY ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES ON THE CARDS
(Posted 29th April 2018)
Ethiopian Airlines has reportedly signed a purchase order with Bombardier for the delivery of 10 new Q400NextGen turboprop aircraft, with an added option for a further five of this aircraft type included.
The airline already operates 21 of this aircraft type in both a two class, C and Y, and single class, Y, configuration, deploying them across their domestic and near regional network as far as Eastern Africa’s main airports on off peak flights.
It could not be ascertained at this stage which configuration the 10 firm orders will have but given the trend a two class layout is the most likely option.
Aviation pundits are speculating over Ethiopian’s plans to perhaps spread this aircraft type further into their partner airline fleets, presently looking at Malawian Airlines, ASKY and soon to come the revived Zambia Airways.
Bombardier has been outselling ATR in Africa with Kenya’s Jambojet having opted for an all Q400 fleet joining such other Bombardier operators like RwandAir and Air Tanzania.
In contrast has Fastjet purchased three ATR72-600’s which will join their fleet once regulatory certification procedures have been completed.
Ethiopian operates a mixed passenger aircraft fleet comprising the Airbus A350, the Boeing B787, Boeing B777, Boeing B767 and Boeing B737NG’s besides their Bombardier turboprops.
Meanwhile is the airline still considering what smaller jet type it will purchase in the future with both Bombardier’s C Series and Embraer’s E190 reportedly being looked at. That decision was due in late 2016 and then awaited throughout 2017 and no indication was given what was prompting the extraordinarily long ‘consideration‘ period towards this decision.