Ethiopian to start fitting winglets to 767s

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Ethiopian Airlines is to retrofit its Boeing 767-300ERs with blended winglets supplied by Aviation Partners Boeing.

The manufacturer stated that the Addis Ababa-based flag-carrier would install the winglets initially on three of the carrier's twinjets. Ethiopian has 11 767-300ERs.

Work on the modification will begin in February, it added, and be conducted at the airline's base.

Ethiopian chief Tewolde Gebremariam said the carrier had opted for the winglets owing to their potential "enormous performance and operating value".

"From an economics point of view, they will allow the airline to make substantial cost saving, through lower fuel burn, which is highly critical at a time when the industry as a whole is feeling the brunt of persistent high fuel prices," he said.

Gebremariam added that the winglets would reduce maintenance costs on the powerplants - the 767 fleet is fitted almost entirely with Pratt & Whitney PW4000s - and improve take-off performance and range from the high-altitude Addis Ababa airport.