During the Dubai Air Show, Ethiopian Airlines signed a contract with Boeing to purchase 20 737 MAX aircraft as well as 11 more 787 Dreamliners.
Mesfin Tasew, CEO of the East African airline, claims that this is just the beginning.
“This is just the first phase. We expect to do another round of fleet renewal in the coming few years, and we expect to order additional aeroplanes.”
According to Tasew, Ethiopian Airlines plans to exercise options on 21 more narrow-body planes. It also has the option to purchase an additional 15 787-9 Dreamliner planes. In the next few months, the airline will announce an order for wide-body planes, either the Boeing 777X or the Airbus A350, he added, declining to indicate how many wide-body jets it will purchase.
When asked about the 2019 MAX tragedy, Mesfin Tasew expresses newfound faith in the single-aisle airplane.
“The accident on the Max (737-Max) four years ago was a very, very sad accident.” It has left a deep wound in our memories, and we are constantly sorrowful for the victims of that accident. We have investigated and confirmed that Boeing has properly fixed the design issue in that aircraft, and we have regained our trust in that aircraft.”
The 157 people on board were killed in a March 2019 737 MAX accident shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa.
It was the second in less than five months involving a Boeing MAX, and it resulted in the worldwide grounding of all MAX planes for nearly two years.
The incidents revealed an issue with a mechanism on the jet, and the model was banned globally, costing the US plane manufacturer $20 billion and sparking legal proceedings that exposed flaws in the certification process.
Boeing touted the acquisition as the largest-ever purchase of Boeing jets in African history but did not provide a price.
Sources: (africanews.,2023), Reuters.