Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Ethiopian Airlines today announced a preliminary agreement for up to 10 Boeing
787 Dreamliner passenger planes that will make the airline the first Africa-based operator of the super-efficient, all-new jetliner.
Valued at $1.3 billion at list prices, the agreement involves five firm orders and purchase rights for five more. The first plane is scheduled for delivery to Addis Ababa, the airline's home base, in 2008.
"You just can't ignore how far Boeing has advanced the technology of commercial aviation with the 787 Dreamliner," said Ethiopian Airlines CEO Ato Girma Wake. "The 787 represents the future -- one in which Ethiopian Airlines will play a major part -- and we view this airplane to be a cutting-edge solution to bolster our passenger service, improve our efficiencies and add to the airline's bottom line."
With this agreement, Boeing has 191 announced firm orders and commitments for the 787 from 15 airlines.
"Airlines all over the world are embracing the 787 because it provides what passengers really want: convenient, comfortable and affordable nonstop flights that take them where they want to go, when they want to go there. The 787's advantages for passengers and airlines are unmatched by any airplane offered in the market today or in the foreseeable future," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Alan Mulally. "We are proud of Ethiopian Airlines' pioneering spirit and we share its goal of maintaining innovative leadership in commercial aviation."
As a member of the 787 launch customer team, Ethiopian Airlines becomes a key partner in developing the 787 family of airplanes.
Boeing's partnership with Ethiopian Airlines dates back some 50 years. Ethiopian Airlines has long played a leading role in the development of commercial aviation on the African continent.
Among its many firsts, the carrier initiated jet service there when it added a Boeing 720B in 1963.
Today, it operates an all-Boeing jet fleet of 737 and 767 airplanes. By ordering the versatile and technologically ground-breaking 787, Ethiopian Airlines sets the stage for continued growth and realization of its motto of linking Africa to the world, while benefiting from the airplane's superior efficiency and unmatched comfort.
The 787 is a family of airplanes in the 200- to 300-seat class that will carry passengers on routes between 3,500 and 8,500 nautical miles (6,500 to 16,000 kilometers), such as between Beijing to New York City, Guangzhou to London, and Shanghai to Los Angeles. The 787 will allow airlines to offer passengers more of what they want: affordable, comfortable, nonstop, point-to-point travel to more destinations around the world.
The airplane will use 20 percent less fuel than today's airplanes of comparable size, and provide customers with up to 45 percent more cargo revenue capacity. Passengers will find significant innovations including a new interior environment with higher humidity, wider seats and aisles, larger windows, and other conveniences.