ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES SNEAKS IN AN ADDED 4 B777 ORDERS
In a rather stealthy way has Ethiopian Airlines apparently ordered yet another 4 Boeing B777F aircraft, as it just became known and confirmed by a source in Addis Ababa.
The airline had kept this development secret but when news began to leak through international aviation blogs, Boeing did finally confirm the order, which makes Ethiopian the first African airline to get these birds into their fleet.
Already engaged strongly in the aviation cargo business, the order of these brand new long distance aircraft will substantially boost ETs capacity to play a bigger role in flying cargo from around the world into Africa. This development comes hot on the heels of neighbour Kenya Airways entering the air cargo business too, with the acquisition of a B747F soon to be followed by the arrival of as many as three B737F, which will be deployed to deliver and collect cargo from across their own African network and feed through KQs Nairobi hub, where air cargo is already big business, though until now mainly for other dedicated cargo airlines.
Ethiopian and Kenya Airways both pursue similar strategies and with ET presently working towards membership in global leader Star Alliance, Kenya Airways is already an associate member in rival Sky Team, which is led by the KLM Air France Group.
The two airlines are aggressively rolling out a comprehensive Africa network aimed to cover all commercial and political capitals, connecting through their respective hubs while at the same time also expanding their international destinations to key markets, though both airlines expansion plans were thrown into some turbulence as a result of the long delays in the delivery of their B787 orders.
In contrast, the other big airlines on the continent, South African Airways and Egypt Air, are struggling to play catch up now. Egypt Air continues to struggle with the fallout of the political revolution earlier this year when they had to suspend most of their flights and has lost crucial points in the perception market while South African Airways appears to have the disadvantage of flying from Africas southernmost country not as well suited to copy the success story of its East African rivals due to geographical challenges.
Watch this space to learn when the new freighters will be delivered to Ethiopian Airlines and to get the most up to date news from the East African and Indian Ocean aviation industry.