Africa’s largest cargo operator, Ethiopian Airlines said it will buy five large 777 freighters from Boeing. This buy is seen as a step to massively expand its fleet before the projected rise in trade volumes in the Continent.
The order is on top of a letter of intent Ethiopian signed in early March for five next-generation 777-8 cargo jets that Boeing expects to begin producing in 2027.
Currently flies nine 777 freighters, Ethiopian’s cargo division also holds three standard-size 737-800 converted freighters. It also handles all the cargo moving on the airline’s large fleet of widebody passenger aircraft.
“The addition of these five 777 Freighters into our cargo fleet will enable us to meet the growing demand in our cargo operation,” said Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew. The joint announcement did not include a timetable for delivery of the first 777 freighter.
The twin-engine, long-range freighter has a maximum payload of 118 tons while burning 17% less fuel than older aircraft types, such as the 747-400.
Projecting Africa’s economy to grow 3% per year over the next 20 years, Boeing targated its long-term regional forecast for 250 new widebody aircraft. The Regions trade is also expected to grow becaue of the Single African Air Transport Market initiatives and The African Continental Free Trade Area. The freighters will enable Ethiopian to expand its global route network and frequencies to support the growth in goods movement.