ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES DEVELOPMENT NEWSby hereI'm
By Tesfa-alem Tekle
July 30, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) Ethiopian Airlines announced plans to purchase 17 new aircrafts from the Boeing and Airbus companies with a $4.2 billion deal, marking the flag carrier, the first African airline to order and operate the ultra long range 777-200LR model.
The airline in a statement on Tuesday said that it has placed an order for five B777-200LR Boeing aircrafts from the Boeing Company and twelve A350-900s from Airbus.
Ethiopias latest announcement for the purchase of five Boeing aircrafts comes after the chief executive officer of Ethiopian Airlines; Girma Wake signed an agreement with Boeings Sales Director for the Middle East and Africa, Skip H. Thompson.
Last week, the flag carrier has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to acquire 12 A350-900s aircrafts. The order for the five B777-200LRs will cost the Ethiopian airlines US$1.3 billion and US$2.9 billion for the twelve A350-900s.
The B777-200LRs will be delivered begin in October, 2010 while the A 350 -900s will be received in 2017.
"The Boeing 777 will be integral as we bring our business to the next level" Girma Wake said, adding this order reinforces the deep ties between our two companies.
"The new purchase of aircraft from Boeing and Airbus is made in line with Ethiopias fast growth strategy in which it is predicated that the fleet size would significantly increase in the next ten to fifteen years" Girma said.
The order is one of the largest-ever by an African airline, and comes amid a broad slump in business for the worlds top airline companies.
Ethiopian currently operates an all-Boeing jet fleet of 29 aircraft and was the regional launch customer for the 787. It has been forced to lease alternatives and delay expansion as the 787 schedule has slipped.
The airline has developed a strong regional network to position Addis Ababa as a base to feed long-haul traffic into Africa, competing with fast-growing Middle East carriers such as Emirates Airline.
Net profits rose 9% to 515 million birr in the six months to December 31, the latest data available, with operating revenue up 55% at 6.7 billion birr. It carried 1.5 million passengers during the period, with freight more than doubling to 55,000 tons. In the year to June 30, 2008 it made a net profit of 507 million birr.
Ethiopian airlines is widely regarded as one of the best-run airlines in Africa. It serves over 50 destinations worldwide and over 35 destinations within Ethiopia.
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