Boeing is gaining more interest for its newest widebody freighter after the manufacturer and long-standing customer Ethiopian Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the intent to purchase five 777-8 freighters.
The African airline plans to expand its cargo and logistics business and become a key multimodal logistics provider in all continents as part of a 13-year ‘vision 2035’ plan.
Boeing’s newest freighter has slightly less payload capacity compared to the 747-400 freighter (128 tonnes) at 118 tonnes but presents 30 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, emissions and operating costs, which fares well with the industry’s ‘net zero’ goals.
“We are increasing our dedicated freighter fleet with the latest technology, fuel efficient and environment-friendly airplanes of the 21st century,” said airline group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam.
Ethiopian Airlines operates nine 777 freighters and three 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters. The carrier, which has more than 40 cargo centers throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Americas, has also started the construction of the largest e-commerce ‘hub terminal’ in Africa.
Meanwhile, DHL Express has placed an order for six additional 777 freighters which the integrator will deploy to connect Cincinnati, Leipzig and Hong Kong as well as other key markets.
The company said the new aircraft will significantly contribute to its goal to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to under 29 million tonnes by 2030.
With the order, the German express operator, which has already taken delivery of 15 777 freighters, has increased its order book total to 28. It placed its first direct order back in 2018.
The 777 freighter is Boeing’s best seller with more than 300 delivered since the programme began in 2005. The new twin-jet 777-8 freighter, launched in January, has 34 firm orders to date.