Ethiopian Airlines has taken delivery of its first Boeing 777 Freighter, the carrier becoming the first African airline to operate the type.
Addis Ababa-based Ethiopian Airlines is leasing its first Boeing 777 Freighter from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and has five more of the type on order.
Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of the aircraft on September 19 and it arrived at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport on September 20.
“This delivery marks another special day for Ethiopian Airlines and all of Ethiopia. We are not only becoming the first African carrier operating Boeing’s 777 Freighter, today we are also taking our cargo operations to a new level and into a new era,” said Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.
“As the largest African cargo carrier operating in some of the fastest growing trade lanes of the world – between Africa and Europe, Middle East, and Asia – the new 777 Freighter fleet will significantly enhance our tonnage and range capabilities,” added GebreMariam.
“The B[oeing] 777 Freighter aircraft has unparalleled performance in its category fleet with its long-range capability, exceptional cargo uplift, special capabilities in temperature control for fresh produce and life science materials, and fuel efficiency,” said GebreMariam.
“As a result, we will deploy this aircraft on longer routes for carriage of flowers, fruits and vegetables with the aim of expanding and improving our cargo service in support of our national fast growing exports,” GebreMariam concluded.
With the arrival of this aircraft, Ethiopian Cargo says it will be able to consolidate its service level in Africa with a fleet of six dedicated freighters and a fast-expanding network of 15 destinations in Africa, seven in the Middle East and two in Europe.
The 777 Freighter, the world’s longest-range twin-engine freighter, is based on the Boeing 777-200LR passenger jet and can fly 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 kilometers) with a full payload of 112 tons (102 metric tonnes).
With high-cargo density and 10-foot (3.1-meter) interior height capability, the 777 Freighter provides a cargo capacity normally associated with larger aircraft and features the lowest trip cost of any large freighter, according to Boeing.
Ethiopian Airlines was the first airline outside of Japan to operate the Boeing 787 and the first African airline to operate the Boeing 777-200LR, taking delivery of its first 77-200LR in 2010. It currently operates an all-Boeing fleet of 737, 757, 767, 777, and 787 jets in passenger service and 757, MD-11, 747, and 777 freighters in cargo operations.