Ethiopian Airlines is to acquire 10 Boeing 737-800s with deliveries scheduled to begin in November 2011.

The airline identified the type as a likely addition to its fleet last year when it set out ambitious expansion plans. Addis Ababa-based Ethiopian values the deal at $767 million at catalogue prices.

Ethiopian has already leased examples of the 737-800. "The added capacity will create further momentum to the growth of the airline in particular and the African economy in general," says Ethiopian chief Girma Wake.

Confirmation of an agreement with Boeing to purchase 10 of the type follows the launch last week of its Togolese airline venture ASKY, in which Ethiopian has a substantial shareholding.

ASKY 737
 © Ethiopian Airlines

ASKY is using Ethiopian 737s to open routes from Lome in Togo. It conducted first flights to Abidjan and Banjul on 15 January, and intends to extend its initial network to 12 destinations.

Ethiopian has 37 aircraft but the 737-800s give it an order backlog of 45, including five Boeing 777-200LRs, 10 787s, 12 Airbus A350-900s and eight Bombardier Q400s.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news