As part of its fleet expansion project and to handle an increasing volume of cargo, Ethiopian Airlines will lease two Boeing 777 freighters from GE Capital Aviation Services.
Air Cargo News reports that the airline’s ten year lease agreement will come into effect when the 777Fs arrive from Boeing in September and October next year.
Ethiopia has also ordered five 777s, of which two have already been delivered while a third is expected this month.
Furthermore, the airline is waiting to take delivery of the often-delayed 787 Dreamliner. Ethiopian was the first African airline to order the 787 when it did so in February 2005 and has ten on order. It expects the first two Dreamliners to arrive in January next year.
Ethiopian has around 40 aircraft on its order book, including 12 Airbus A350s and ten Boeing 737s. The airline currently operates eleven 767-300s, with eight of the type slated for retirement by 2016. It also operates four 777-200LRs, eight 757-200ERs, five 737-700s, five 737-800s and eight Bombardier Q400s.
Ethiopian needs to cater to a growing demand for cargo transport as the amount of cargo it handles has grown from 42 000 tonnes to 110 000 tonnes over the last five years. In March the carrier said it would double capacity at its Bole International Airport cargo hub, according to Air Cargo News. Ethiopian said that cargo makes up approximately 15% of its business.
The airline has other expansion plans and is getting ready to open a new hub in Zambia.