Dubai Airshow 2023: Ethiopian bags Boeing 737s and 787s

Ethiopian Airlines has placed orders for 20 Boeing 737 Max 8s and 11 787-9s, alongside an interior retrofit programme for its existing fleet of 787s.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew and Brad McMullen, Boeing senior VP commercial sales and marketing at the airline’s signing for 737s and 787s.

Ethiopian Airlines group CEO Mesfin Tasew stressed that this order volume is “conservative”, and more orders will be placed in the “coming years” with both Boeing and Airbus types in contention. 

However, the airline will wait on a potential order for the Airbus A220 until issues with its Pratt & Whitney PW1500 engine are “corrected”, he added.

The carrier’s strategic roadmap sees a fleet of 270 aircraft by 2035, nearly double its current fleet size, he said.

The carrier is seeking several 787-9s from the operating lease market starting in summer 2024 to provide bridge lift. A scarcity of delivery slots is forcing Ethiopian to turn to interim capacity, and it will “trade between leases and the Boeing options” in its fleet planning in the coming years, explained Tasew.

Yesterday’s order includes 21 737 Max 8 and 15 787-9 options. The deliveries of the firm orders will begin in 2026 and continue until 2030.

In more Boeing news, Kazakhstan’s SCAT Airlines placed a follow-on order for seven 737 Max 8s.