Boeing Adds Ethiopian To 777-8F Orderbook

Ethiopian has an agreement to buy five 777-8F from Boeing.
Credit: Boeing

Boeing’s fast-growing 777-8F backlog has been boosted with the addition of a five-aircraft order from Ethiopian Airlines following the signing of a MOU with the African carrier on March 4.

The Ethiopian deal follows the formal launch of the 777X freighter version in January on the back of a firm order from Qatar Airways for 34 aircraft with options for a further 16. 

The latest agreement also marks a significant turn-around in relations with the Addis Ababa-based operator following the crash of an Ethiopian 737-8 in March 2019. The freighter deal comes four months after Boeing reached an agreement with the families of the victims of the accident, allowing them to pursue individual claims in U.S. courts instead of their home country. The Ethiopian 737 accident, which prompted a 20-month grounding of the model, killed people of 35 nationalities.

The 777-8F will play a key role in Ethiopian’s cargo growth plans, says the airline group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam. “In our vision 2035, we are planning to expand our cargo and logistics business to be one of the largest global multimodal logistics providers in all continents. To this effect we are increasing our dedicated freighter fleet with the latest technology, fuel efficient and environment-friendly airplanes of the 21st century. We have also started the construction of the largest e-commerce hub terminal in Africa,” he says.

The airline currently operates nine 777F freighters, connecting Africa with more than 40 cargo centers throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. The carrier’s fleet also includes three 737-800BCFs (Boeing Converted Freighters).

Guy Norris

Guy is a Senior Editor for Aviation Week, covering technology and propulsion. He is based in Colorado Springs.