By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Ethiopian Airlines signed a procurement agreement to purchase a total of 67 aircrafts, sources said. The Airlines and Boeing Company announced yesterday that a purchase order has been made with the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing to start the production of the planes. The agreement was reached during the ongoing Dubai Aviation Industry Fair, where both companies are participating, the Amharic Weekly, the Reporter said here today.
As per the deal, eleven 787 Dreamliner models, twenty 737 MAX models, and 36 unspecified jets will be purchased, according to the Reporter. The agreement for the purchase of twenty more MAX aircrafts was made after the same Boeing 737-MAX-8 aircraft crashed in an accident that happened four years back around Bishoftu (Debre Zeit) Town.
The Boeing Company will manufacture and deliver the aircrafts to Ethiopian Airlines within the next few years, according to the Reporter. Boeing mentioned in the statement that such a number of aircrafts has not been purchased by any other African Airlines at a time and the procurement agreement will make Ethiopian the first Airlines.
The Reporter’s efforts to find out the prices were unsuccessful, and the officials of the Ethiopian Airlines said that the price of the aircrafts will be determined by the rate at the time of delivery. It is said that the new planes are improved models and will reduce 20 percent emissions of polluting gasses and 50 percent noise pollution through efficient use of fuel.
A year ago, the Exim Bank of the United States of America provided a loan guarantee of 281 million dollars to Ethiopian Airlines. This money will be used for the purchase of airplanes that the Airlines will buy from Boeing, which will create job opportunities for 1,600 Americans. According to the agreement at the time, the Airlines would pay off the debt after taking delivery of the planes.
However, both companies did not disclose whether the agreement made last year included the cost of the planes ordered now. According to the report released by the Ministry of Finance in June 2023, the Ethiopian Airlines owes about 522 million USD in external debt.
Ethiopian Airlines currently has 147 aircrafts, and the current 67 ordered from Boeing is expected to increase the number by half in a few years. However, there is a question whether Ethiopian Airlines can accommodate all the planes at the current Bole Airport or whether it needs further expansion works.
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