The FINANCIAL — Bombardier Commercial Aircraft and Addis Ababa-based Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise (Ethiopian Airlines) announced on December 29 that they have signed a firm purchase agreement for two additional Q400 turboprop airliners that will bring Ethiopian Airlines’ Q400 aircraft fleet to a total of 19 aircraft, the largest total fleet in Africa.
Based on the list price of the Q400 aircraft, the transaction is valued at approximately $63 million US, according to Ethiopian Airlines.
“We are continuously working to have the right fleet with agility, optimal range, load and passenger comfort which is critical for us to keep our leadership position in the market. The Q400 aircraft continues to be an integral part of our expansion strategy in Africa. Through our strategic partnerships with ASKY Airlines in Togo and Malawian Airlines in Malawi, the Q400 airliner has played a vital role in availing convenient connections, as well as increasing frequencies to support air travel growth in Africa and successfully create a missing link,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, Group Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines. “The Q400 aircraft is also our core fleet to our domestic and regional destinations, thereby ensuring excellent passenger experience, operational flexibility and economics.
“We continue to work with Bombardier to support and maintain the aircraft through our approved Q400 Authorized Service Facility and our Q400 aircraft simulator,” added Mr. Gebremariam.
“The Q400 turboprop continues to make impressive headway in Africa and has proven its ruggedness and reliability in challenging operational environments where its hot and high capability, jet-like speed and high rate of climb are significant assets,” said Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “Some 69 Q400 aircraft are now in service with more than 20 operators on the continent, and we are delighted with Ethiopian Airlines’ continuing growth and impressive use of the aircraft to satisfy a wide variety of market requirements.”
“Our commitment to help Africa continue to expand its regional airline network with modern, economical, fuel-efficient and environmentally sensitive aircraft remains a very high priority at Bombardier,” said John Kassis, Vice President, Sales, Africa and the Middle East, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “Our collaboration with operators in Africa encompasses the Dash 8 / Q Series turboprops and the pioneering CRJ Series family of regional jets. Now, we are witnessing the unprecedented growth in Africa being undertaken by Ethiopian Airlines, ASKY and Malawian and the Q400 turboprop airliner continues to be a key contributor to this strategy.”
In 2013, Ethiopian Airlines joined Bombardier’s global network of Authorized Service Facilities (ASFs) for commercial aircraft and performs line and heavy maintenance on Q400 aircraft at its facilities at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. The ASF works in close collaboration with Bombardier’s maintenance network of wholly owned service centres and ASFs, as well as with Bombardier’s network of parts hubs and depots, including the Johannesburg Parts Depot. A full-service Bombardier Regional Support Office is also located in Johannesburg.
Ethiopian Airlines has won Airline Reliability Performance Awards from Bombardier for five years in a row.