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Ethiopian Airlines consider big Airbus order after fatal crash of its Boeing 737 MAX earlier this year

Ethiopian Airlines consider big Airbus order after fatal crash of its Boeing 737 MAX earlier this year
Africa’s largest airliner, Ethiopian Airlines, is mulling a purchase of a fleet of Airbus planes. It would be the company’s first order since the crash of its Boeing 737 MAX in March, which killed 157 people.

According to a Bloomberg report citing the airline’s CEO Tewolde Gebre Mariam, the state-owned company is at the final stages of striking a $1.6 billion deal with European plane manufacturer Airbus for the purchase of 20 narrow-body A220 aircraft.

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It is not the first time the airline was looking at buying the 100-seat A220s for its fleet. However, last year it had decided to go for larger Boeing 737 family aircraft.

It’s a good airplane - we have been studying it long enough,” Tewolde was cited as saying. The agreement is set to be completed by the end of the year.

According to Tewolde, the airline faced difficulties operating large Boeing 737 MAX, as it had to stop off at a second destination on flights from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to cities including Windhoek in Namibia and the Botswana capital Gaborone in order to refuel the planes. He stated that operating Airbus A220s will allow direct flights with no additional stops.

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European Airbus and US-based Boeing have long been rivals fighting for the airline market. However, following two deadly crashes earlier this year, Boeing’s most popular 737 MAX jets have been grounded due to an ongoing probe. Ever since, Airbus’ profits have been growing exponentially, while Boeing posted its largest-ever quarterly loss in July, calculating the total cost of the 737 MAX crisis at over $8 billion.

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