By James Anyanzwa | The East African
Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the supply of 777-8 Freighters. Under the deal, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)-listed American aerospace company will supply its long standing partner with five 777-8 Freighters, the industry’s’ newest aircraft believed to be the most capable and most fuel-efficient twin-engine freighter.
In a statement dated March 4, Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Tewolde Gebremariam said the agreement would help the national carrier meet its expanding global cargo demand from its hub in Addis Ababa and position it for long-term sustainable growth.
“Consistent with our history of aviation technology leadership in Africa, we are pleased to sign this MoU with our longstanding partner Boeing, which will make us join select group of launch customer airlines for the fleet,” he said.
“In our Vision 2035, we are planning to expand our cargo and logistics business to be one of the largest global multimodal logistics provider 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.”
Ethiopian Airlines has also started the construction of the largest E-commerce Hub Terminal in Africa with hopes that the new 777-8 Freighters will be instrumental in this long journey of growth agenda.
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“Today, our air cargo services cover more than 120 international destinations around the world with both belly-hold capacity and dedicated freighter services,” said Gebremariam.
According to the statement, Boeing launched the new 777-8 Freighter in January and has already booked 34 firm orders for the model, which features the advanced technology from the new 777X family and proven performance of the market-leading 777 Freighter.
It is argued that the 777-8 Freighter could enable a more sustainable and profitable business for operators owing to that fact that it has payload capacity nearly identical to the 747-400 Freighter and a 30 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, emissions and operating costs.
Ethiopian Airlines currently operates nine 777 Freighters, connecting Africa with more than 40 cargo centres throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Americas.
The carrier’s fleet also includes three 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters and a combined commercial fleet of more than 80 Boeing jets including 737s, 767s, 787s and 777s.
Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defence products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries.