Ethiopian Airlines has signed a major new aircraft order that is set to revamp its short- and medium-haul fleet.
The national carrier has agreed to purchase 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, worth more than US$2.1 billion at list prices. The deal also includes future purchase rights for 15 more aircraft of the same model.
The B737 MAX 8 is the new fuel-efficient version of the existing B737-800, and is set to enter service in 2017.
“Today’s order underlines our commitment to our 15-year strategic plan, ‘Vision 2025’, in which Ethiopian will strive to become the leading airline group in Africa carrying 18 million passengers per annum,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.
“The 737 MAX will form a key component of that strategic vision, enhancing our single-aisle fleet and keeping us at the forefront of African aviation.”
Ethiopian currently operates a fleet of more than 60 aircraft, mainly consisting of Boeing jets. The airline already has 15 B737s and has outstanding orders for another four. The new B737 MAXs are expected to operate regional flights to destinations in Africa and the Middle East.