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Ethiopian Airlines Places Africa’s 1st Boeing 777X Order

by Staff


  • Ethiopian Airlines signs a deal for up to 20 Boeing 777-9 aircraft, becoming the first 777X customer in Africa.
  • The 777-9 will support Ethiopian Airlines’ fleet growth and network expansion plans.
  • The airline is Boeing’s biggest African customer, and it expects to double its fleet by 2035.

Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest carrier, has signed a historical deal with Boeing for up to 20 777-9 aircraft. With this agreement, Ethiopian Airlines becomes the first 777X customer in Africa.

Expanding its fleet with Boeing’s latest widebody

Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines have a long-standing relationship dating back several decades. Strengthening its position as the manufacturer’s biggest African customer, the East African carrier has announced its intention to purchase eight 777-9 jets with options of up to 12 more.

Photo: Boeing

This follows the airline’s landmark deal last year for up to 31 new Boeing aircraft, including 20 737 MAXs and 11 787 Dreamliners. With a long-term growth strategy in place, the carrier aims to nearly double its fleet by 2035. Speaking about the monumental 777X order, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Ato Mesfin Tasew said,

“We are pleased to continue setting the trend in African aviation by adopting cutting-edge technologies to enhance our services and customer satisfaction. Improving our operational performance and commitment to environmental sustainability, the 777-9 offers more flexibility, reduced fuel consumption and carbon emissions.”

“We are grateful to Boeing for their long-standing partnership and support, and we eagerly anticipate flying the 777-9 across the African skies and beyond.”

Boeing believes its new widebody jet is well suited to support the East African carrier’s fleet renewal and growth plans. Based on the 777 and featuring technology from the 787, which are both operated by Ethiopian Airlines, the 777-9 has new carbon fiber composite wings and engines that promise 10% better fuel efficiency and operating costs than its competition in the same category. Boeing Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing Brad McMullen said,

“Ethiopian Airlines marks yet another first in our longstanding partnership by selecting the 777-9 to be the flagship of its growing fleet. Building on a relationship that goes back 75 years, we deeply value the unwavering trust and confidence Ethiopian Airlines puts in our airplanes.”


Which Airlines Have Ordered The Boeing 777X?

So far, a total of 11 carriers have ordered Boeing’s latest widebody airliner.

Investing in new technology

With significant expansion anticipated in Africa’s air transport sector over the next 20 years, Boeing expects African carriers to receive over 1,000 new aircraft to support their growth. This includes more than 700 new single-aisle aircraft and nearly 300 new widebodies. Approximately 90% of all deliveries will comprise the more modern and efficient 737 MAX, 787 Dreamliner, and 777X families.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines continues to invest in new technology to offer its passengers an enhanced flying experience while reducing its carbon footprint. Apart from providing aircraft, Boeing and Ethiopian have partnered on many fronts, including Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO), industrial development, as well as education and training at the Ethiopian Airlines University (EAU).

Ethiopian Airlines 787-8

Photo: Suparat Chairatprasert | Shutterstock

Ethiopian Airlines currently has the largest fleet among all African carriers. It has remained a pioneer in operating ultra-modern single aisle and widebody jets. According to ch-aviation, the carrier operates a fleet of 137 passenger and cargo aircraft comprising the following models:


  • DHC-8-Q400: 30
  • B787: 29
  • B777: 10
  • B767: 1
  • B737NG: 15
  • B737 MAX: 16
  • Airbus A350: 20


  • Boeing 737: 4
  • B767: 2
  • B777: 10

In addition to the new 777X deal, the carrier has an additional 65 aircraft on order, including the A350-1000 and B777-200F. The 777X will be the flagship of Ethiopian’s ever-growing fleet. However, the new widebody is expected to enter service in 2025, with Emirates’ CEO warning of another potential delay. The aircraft was initially expected to enter service in 2020.

What are your thoughts on Ethiopian Airlines’ new Boeing 777X order? Please let us know in the comments!

  • Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787-8

    Ethiopian Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Addis Ababa Bole International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Mesfin Tasew Bekele


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