Ethiopian Airlines Orders 17 New Aircraft

July 30, 2009

As Ethiopian Airlines continues to wait for the Boeing 787, the airline has decided to go ahead and place an order with Boeing for five 777-200LRs to be delivered soon, and also committed to taking 12 Airbus A350-900s for its long-term modernization needs starting in 2017.

The airline says the list price value of the two deals reaches $4.2 billion — $1.3 billion for Boeing with Airbus securing the rest.

Ethiopian is not backing away from its 2005 order for 10 787s, which the airline had hoped to receive last year and more recently next year. But Boeing’s delivery plans for the 787 are still up in the air owing to development problems with the twin widebody.

The 777 order is a “definitive agreement,” the airline says, with the deal with Airbus still only a memorandum of understanding.

In March, Ethiopian signaled that after seeing strong revenue and passenger growth, it was bracing for a potential slowdown owing to difficult global economic conditions. Nevertheless, it has continued to grow its fleet, fielding another Boeing 737-800 last month.