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Ethiopian spends big at Paris Airshow

Ethiopian spends big at Paris Airshow

Wins SKYTRAX Award

Ethiopian Airlines stunned the aviation industry this week by placing a record number of passenger and cargo aircraft from leading global manufactures at the Paris Airshow, a renowned aviation exhibition held every two years in Le Bourget Airport, Paris, France.

The largest African carrier placed a total of 27 aircraft orders from Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier with a total value of 4.8 billion dollars at least prices. On June 20 Ethiopian announced that it placed an order for 10 additional Airbus A350-900 aircraft, enabling further development to its fast expanding long-haul route network. The ten A350-900, Airbus newest jetliners are valued at three billion dollars at least prices.

Last June, Ethiopian Airlines became the first African carrier to operate the A350 when it took delivery of the first of 12 aircraft in order. Today the carrier operates a fleet of four A350s, two of which are on lease. A joint statement issued by Ethiopian and Airbus stated that the order tops-up the carrier's fleet, enabling it to pursue its growth strategy and objectives over the coming years.

Ethiopian Airlines' A350-900s are configured in a two-class layout seating 30 passengers in Business Class and 313 in Economy Class. “The spacious, quiet interior and mood lighting in the cabin contribute to superior levels of passenger comfort and well-being,” the statement said. 

The 71 year old carrier has been operating Boeing fleet on its long haul routes. For the first time, it placed orders for Airbus aircraft in 2009 at the Dubai Airshow. Ethiopian did not disappoint its six decades partner and Airbus’ arch rival, Boeing at the Paris Airshow.   

On June 21, the airline announced an order for 10 additional B737 MAX 8 airplanes. Ethiopian had placed firm orders for 20 B737 MAX in 2014. The 10 B737 MAX options being exercised were part of a deal signed in September 2014, completing the largest ever order for the B737 MAX in Africa. The ten B737-8 orders are valued at one billion dollars. Ethiopian now has firm orders for 30 B737 MAX 8s.

The airline has also announced a commitment to purchase two 777 Freighters at the 2017 Paris Airshow, valued at 651.4 million at list prices. Ethiopian Cargo is one of the seven business units under Ethiopian Airlines Group. Ethiopian Cargo which operates six B777 and two B757 freighter aircraft is the largest cargo operator in Africa. It will inaugurate a new state-of-the-art cargo terminal built at a cost of 150 million dollars next week on the sidelines of the ICAO Cargo Development Forum, which will be held in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian has also placed firm orders for five Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft from the Canadian multinational aerospace and transportation company with a total value of 162 million dollars. Ethiopian has been operating Bombardier Q400s since 2009 on domestic and regional routes. The airline currently has 19 Q400s and the new order would boost its Q400 fleet to 24.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said that operating the youngest fleet in the industry with modern and comfortable customer features in cabin is one of the four pillars in the airline’s 15-year strategic road map – Vision 2025. Tewolde said the new orders are one component of the fast, sustainable and profitable growth strategy.

Ethiopian Airlines has a young fleet of 86 aircraft including B787 Dreamliner, B777, B737, A350 and Q400 aircraft serving 95 international destinations. By 2025 the airline plans to boost its fleet number to 150.

Paris Airshow seems to be a successful venue for Ethiopian Airlines. In addition to the massive aircraft orders, the national flag carrier has received a prestigious award from SKYTRAX, a respected global air transport rating organization. Ethiopian won SKYTRAX World Airline Award for The Best Airlines in Africa on June 20, 2017 at the Paris Airshow.

SKYTRAX conducts the world’s largest annual airline passenger satisfaction survey where customers make their own personal choices as to which airline they consider to be the best.