From News24. Story by Selene Brophy
Ethiopian Airlines has announced plans to order 44 new aircraft, expanding its 76-plane fleet in the next 10 years by almost 60 percent in the face of rising air traffic as Africa’s economy sees steady growth.
The airline said in a press release, the move is part of the African carrier’s “Vision 2025” — a fleet expansion plan that aims to add 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, 14 A350-900s, six Boeing 787 Dreamliners, two Boeing 787-9s, and two 777-200F Boeing freighters to its fleet over the next decade.
News of the expansion follows the recent announcement of the airline’s new direct routes from Addis Ababa to Cape Town and Gaborone.
The airline is also in the process of evaluating the Boeing 777X, Airbus 350-1000, and Bombardier Q400 aircraft.
“Africa’s economy has grown at a rate of more than 4.5 percent per year over the past 10 years despite the global recession. In line with this growth, overall air traffic to and from Africa is expected to grow by about 6 percent annually over the next 20 years,” said Nigusu Worku Wordofa, regional director of the Americas for Ethiopian Airlines.
In the last year, Ethiopian Airlines said it had seen a 7 percent jump in air traffic, while domestic travel has picked up at an estimated 20 percent, supplemented by strong in-country routes and other in-continent flight routes, such as those to South Africa, Kenya, the Republic of Sudan and Nigeria.
International traffic has experienced slower pick-up — just 3 percent year-over-year — but Worku said the airline sees heavy traffic on international routes to America and Dubai.
The airline also expects a further pick up in international traffic to and from countries that are destined to become main trade partners with Africa including India, China, and other Asian countries, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.
Ethiopian Airlines and Etihad Airways are among the international companies that have expressed an interest in buying a stake in RwandAir for 49-percent ownership in the East African airline. The new stakeholder will jointly manage the airline and technical services.
Read more at News24.