Grounded Ethiopian Airlines planes are seen in the airfield at the Bole International Airport amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 7, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Ethiopian Airlines, has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with its longstanding partner Boeing, with the intent to purchase five 777-8 Freighters, the industry’s newest, most capable, and most fuel-efficient twin-engine freighter.

The Memorandum of Understanding to order the 777-8 Freighter will enable Ethiopian Airlines to meet expanding global cargo demand from its hub in Addis Ababa and position the carrier for long-term sustainable growth.

According to the Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebremariam, the airline’s vision 2035 is to expand the Cargo and Logistics business to be one of the largest global multimodal logistics providers in all continents. It is to this effect that the airline is increasing its dedicated Freighter fleet with the latest technology, fuel-efficient and environment-friendly airplanes of the 21st century.

Tewolde also hinted that the construction of the largest E-commerce Hub Terminal in Africa has commenced. In his words,  “The new 777-8 Freighters will be instrumental in this long journey of growth agenda. Today, our air cargo services cover more than 120 international destinations around the world with both belly hold capacity and dedicated Freighter services.” 

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. With payload capacity nearly identical to the 747-400 Freighter and a 30% improvement in fuel efficiency, emissions and operating costs, the 777-8 Freighter will enable a more sustainable and profitable business for operators.

“Ethiopian Airlines has been at the forefront of Africa’s cargo market for decades, growing its fleet of Boeing freighters and connecting the continent to the flow of global commerce,” said Ihssane Mounir, Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing. “The intent to purchase the new 777-8 Freighter further underscores the value of our latest airplane and ensures Ethiopian will remain a key player in global cargo, providing it with increased capacity, flexibility and efficiency for the future.

Ethiopian Airlines currently operates nine 777 Freighters, connecting Africa with more than 40 cargo centers 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.