Ethiopian Air Places $2.1 Billion Order for Boeing 737s

Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise,
Africa’s largest carrier by revenue, agreed to buy 20 redesigned
737 models valued at $2.1 billion in the largest single order
for Boeing (BA) Co. planes from the continent.

The order for the single-aisle Max 8, the first of four
redesigned 737 models, comes with an option for an additional 15
planes, the companies said today in a statement. The Boeing
model will be a key component of the Addis Ababa-based carrier’s
15-year plan to expand its business to carry 18 million
passengers a year, Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Officer
Tewolde GebreMariam said during a tourism forum in Chicago.

boeing 737 max

“The African market has had a lot of great potential, but
service has been a problem,” Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace
consultant with Fairfax, Virginia-based Teal Group, said in a
telephone interview from Washington. “There are strong signs of
improvement, led by Ethiopian and other airlines. This order
shows a commitment to operate the most modern jets on domestic
and intra-African routes.”

The order had been announced previously on Boeing’s orders
and deliveries website, without identifying the airline.

Boeing’s Max 8 is due to enter service in 2017 and is being
outfitted with new engines from a General Electric Co. joint
venture. Ryanair Holdings Plc (RYA) announced earlier this month that
it would buy as many as 200 of the higher-capacity Max 200 model
from the Chicago-based planemaker, with deliveries set to begin
in 2019.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Nancy Moran in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Simon Casey at
Stephen West, Sylvia Wier

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