Ethiopian Airlines announced that it has set to buy four Boeing 777 Freighters from Boeing [NYSE: BA] at a cost of 1.3 billion USD.
In a press release sent to The Ethiopian Herald, the airlines stated that the deal includes a new order for two freighters of the world's largest and longest-range twin-engine cargo jet. It also includes two freighters the airline announced as a commitment in June that finalized into a firm order.
Signing the agreement, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said that the order would help to provide Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics business with enhanced cargo capacity and better operating economics as the airlines is endeavoring to build one of the largest cargo terminals in the world.
"Operating high-performance airplanes such as the 777 Freighter is a reflection of our commitment to expand and support the growing imports and exports of our country and the continent."
With nearly 100 airplanes in operation, Ethiopian flies one of the largest and youngest fleets in Africa, including Boeing 737s, 757s, 767s, 777s, and 787s, he said.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Kevin McAllister for his part noted that Boeing would strengthen its partnership with Ethiopian for selecting Boeing airplanes again to grow its operations.
As to him, the order includes the 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner.
"The 777 Freighter has no competitor in its class for its low operating costs, long range, and capacity to carry cargo."
The 777 Freighter is based on the 777-200 Longer Range passenger jet and can fly 4,900 nautical miles with a full payload of 112 tons, he stated.
As to him, the order pushes 777 net orders this year to 57, of which 37 of them are for the current generation 777 airplane, providing further support to a smooth production transition to the new 777X.
Ethiopian Cargo is the largest network cargo operator in Africa with six 777 and two 757 Freighters serving 39 cargo destinations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
Ethiopian Cargo has opened a state-of-the-art cargo terminal in June 2017 that gives the carrier an annual capacity of one million tons.