DUBAI: Ethiopian Airlines made aviation history at the Dubai Airshow by finalizing a groundbreaking deal with Boeing, ordering 31 aircraft with an option for an additional 36, marking the largest-ever order by an African airline for Boeing planes. The $5.6 billion deal includes 11 787 Dreamliners and 20 737 MAX planes, showcasing the carrier’s ambitious expansion plans.
Ethiopian Airlines, already Africa’s largest carrier with a fleet of 140 aircraft serving 100 destinations, aims to leverage the advanced technology of both wide-body and narrow-body planes to enhance its network, operations, and profitability, according to group CEO Mesfin Tasew. The deal was described by Brad McMullen, Boeing’s senior vice-president of commercial sales and marketing, as a “landmark commitment” from the flag-carrier.
Dubai’s Emirates Buying 95 Boeing Planes
This announcement follows other major orders at the Dubai Airshow, including Dubai’s Emirates buying 95 Boeing planes and budget carrier flydubai purchasing 30 wide-bodied aircraft. Turkish Airlines is also in talks with Airbus for up to 355 jets, and in June, India’s Indigo made the largest-ever order for civil aircraft with 500 Airbus A320-family planes.
Despite Boeing dominating the recent deals, Airbus secured an order for 10 A350-900 planes from EgyptAir. Airbus commercial director Christian Scherer highlighted the significance of the deal, calling it “an important milestone” in the longstanding partnership with the state-owned carrier.
However, Emirates CEO Tim Clark expressed reservations about purchasing Airbus’s A350 until negotiations with engine manufacturer Rolls Royce are concluded. Clark emphasized the importance of reliability, stating, “What we want is reliance.”
In addition to the aircraft orders, Emirates announced contracts worth $1.2 billion with French aircraft equipment manufacturer Safran. The deal includes equipping the Emirates fleet with new seats, costing $1 billion at list price, for Airbus A350s, Boeing 777X-9s, and Boeing 777-300s.
Meanwhile, Air Arabia, based in Sharjah, ordered 240 LEAP-1A engines from Safran, valued at about $3.36 billion, to power its existing order of 120 Airbus A320neo family aircraft.