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An Ethiopian Cargo Boeing 777 lifts off in Limburg, Netherlands. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

Ethiopian Airlines, Still Hungry for More Freighters, Announces Deal with Titan Investments for Boeing 767Fs

Ethiopian Airlines Group has signed a long-term dry lease agreement with Titan Aircraft Investments,the joint venture between Titan Aviation Holdings and Bain Capital Credit, for three Boeing 767-300ER converted freighters.

Ethiopian Airlines is expected to take delivery of the first aircraft later this month with the second delivery planned for later this year and the third aircraft planned for 2023, according to an announcement by Atlas Air.

“We are delighted to welcome Ethiopian Airlines as a strategic customer and support its growing freighter fleet,” said Michael Steen, President and Chief Executive Office of Titan Aviation Holdings. “We are honored that Ethiopian Airlines recognizes our industry and technical expertise and has placed its trust in Titan.”

For his part, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew said, “This dry lease agreement will be fundamental to our fast-growing cargo operation as Ethiopian is a key global player in the air cargo business. We are glad about the partnership with Titan Aircraft Investments to enhance our capacity with three more B767 converted aircraft in addition to the existing nine widebody freighters and four B737 converted aircraft.”

Titan Aviation Holdings, a subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide and a freighter-centric leasing company, is now the third largest freighter lessor globally by fleet value, managing 33 aircraft worldwide with a book value of over $1.5 billion.

Ethiopian currently operates nine Boeing 777 freighters and four Boeing 737-800 freighters. It will add five more brand new 777 freighters in the next three years besides its plans to buy five new generation Boeing freighters, the Boeing 777-8, to be added into its fleet by the end of this decade.

A League of Its Own

The airline is by many efficiency and operational metrics a standout as Africa’s top airline. Its cargo division, Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services, is the largest cargo network operator in the continent and one of the major global cargo carriers with a modern warehouse at its hub in Addis Ababa. In the 2020-2021 fiscal Ethiopia carried more than 750,000 tonnes of cargo.

It provides freight services to its global customers in over 66 global destinations in Africa, the Gulf, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. It operates 12 dedicated freighters that include nine Boeing 777s and four Boeing 737-800 freighters.

In the strategic road map of Ethiopian — Vision 2035 — Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services plans to be a full-fledged profit center with annual revenue touching $2.87 billion, have a fleet of 24 freighters serving 70 cargo destinations, and carry close to a million metric tons of cargo.

This comes as the International Air Transport Association released data for global air cargo markets in July 2022, showing a continued track of traffic close to pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels .

Global demand, measured in freight ton-kilometres, was sitting in July 2022 within 3.5% of the July 2019 level but 9.7% below July 2021 against a backdrop of falling orders, according to IATA.

Capacity was 3.6% higher than July 2021 — 6.8% higher for international operations — but still 7.8% lower than July 2019 levels. Air cargo has thrived during the health crisis thanks to the reduction capacity and the explosion in demand, which caused prices to soar.

Author

  • Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Victor’s love for aviation goes way back to when he was 11-years-old. Living close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, he developed a love for planes and he even recalls aspiring to be a future airline executive for Kenya Airways. He also has a passion in the arts and loves writing and had his own aviation blog prior to joining AirlineGeeks. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at DeKUT and aspiring to make a career in a more aviation-related course.

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