DUBAI — Ethiopian Airlines have announced a deal with Boeing for four Boeing 777 Freighters, valued at $1.3 billion list price.

This order will boost the carrier’s 777 Freighter fleet from six to ten, bringing the total net orders for the 777 this year to 57.

For those carriers that order the 777, there are transitional options onto the 777X program if they so decide to choose.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & CEO Kevin McAllister said, “We are honored that Ethiopian Airlines, one of Africa’s leading carriers, has again selected Boeing airplanes to grow its operations, adding to an order book that includes the 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner.”

“The 777 Freighter has no competitor in its class when it comes to low operating costs, long range, and capacity to carry cargo,” he added.

Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, who signed the new airplanes at the 2017 Dubai Airshow said, “This airplane order will provide Ethiopian’s Cargo & Logistics business with enhanced cargo capacity and better operating economics as we continue to build one of the largest cargo terminals in the world.”

The Ethiopian CEO said that “operating high-performance airplanes such as the 777 Freighter is a reflection of the airline’s commitment to expand and support the growing imports and exports of our country and the African continent.”

The 777 Freighter can fly 4,900 nautical miles and can carry at maximum 112 tons, highlighting the demand for long-haul cargo operations for carriers such as Ethiopian Airlines.

Ethiopian currently has a cargo fleet of six 777 Freighters and two 757 Freighters. These aircraft operate to 39 different destinations across the globe.

Further African Strategy

Back in June of this year, the carrier opened up their very own cargo center, which increased their cargo capacity to one million tons per year.

These additional aircraft are needed to cope with the demand that they are currently experiencing. For a carrier overall that has over 100 aircraft, cargo does roll well with passenger flights, so this extra tonnage will be necessary to connect onwards to the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and other long-haul destinations.

All of this additional growth is under the carrier’s Vision 2025 program, which is a 15-year plan to make the airline more profitable and to be sustainable in the growth that they achieve as a carrier.

And this program seems to be working, with the carrier surpassing all of their goals in passenger numbers, cargo uplift, fleet size, revenue, profitability and customer service.

The airline’s recent results has ultimately taken Ethiopian to win a four-star rating through SKYTRAX.

Out of this 15-year strategy, through their seventh year in, they have consecutively won the AFRAA (African Airlines Association) Airline of the Year Award for their continued progress in the African airline market.

These awards and recognition of success highlight that Ethiopian is capitalizing on this success through buying more aircraft and slowly expanding their portfolio to be the game-changer of the African cargo and passenger market. And as the carrier has grown by 25% over the past seven years, it solidifies the fact that they have found the successful strategy needed to thrive in the industry.