Ethiopian Airlines acquires 5 new aircraft to boost fleet to 150
logistics | Mesfin Tasew | SupplyChain | transport
Par Ibrahima DIALLO
23 December 2023 / 11:47

Ethiopian Airlines will add five new aircraft to its fleet this December. The continent's leading airline thus completes its first acquisition since its mega firm order for 42 aircraft last November, as part of the group's drive to increase its fleet to 270 aircraft by 2025.

Last November, at the Dubai Air Show, Ethiopian Airlines announced a mega-firm order for 42 aircraft, with an option for a further 36.

The airline is stepping up the pace of its fleet expansion, with 5 aircraft to be delivered in December, compared with a policy of acquiring one aircraft a month over the past few years. It has to be said that Africa's leading airline has overflowing ambitions, the main one being to double its fleet to 271 aircraft by 2025.

Five new aircraft from the American manufacturer Boeing will be added to the fleet. These are three Boeing 737 Max and two Boeing 777 cargo aircraft.

To finance the acquisition, the Ethiopian company secured a $450 million loan from US bank Citigroup, according to Bloomberg. "We are grateful for the mutually beneficial partnership we have established with Citi and look forward to strengthening it further.

Fleet expansion is one of our strategic pillars of growth. We will continue to expand and modernize the size of our fleet in order to grow our business and reach new markets," said Mesfin Tasew, Chairman and CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group. The loan is also guaranteed by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Exim).

Since taking over as head of Africa's leading airline, Mesfin Tasew Bekele has placed fleet expansion at the heart of Ethiopian's strategy. With these acquisitions, the airline's fleet will number 150 aircraft.

At the same time, the fleet is being rejuvenated by the replacement of older, fuel-hungry aircraft, with a view to improving the company's profitability. Fuel accounts for a large share of airline operating costs, whereas the new generation of aircraft consumes between 20% and 25% less fuel.

With these aircraft, Ethiopian, which currently flies to 135 international passenger and cargo destinations, including 63 African cities, intends to further densify its network of destinations both within Africa, in the wake of the prospects of the African Open Sky, and to other continents.

Kofi Gabriel

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