Ethiopian Airlines (EA) has signed an eight-year sale and leaseback agreement with TrueNoord, a specialist in leasing regional aircraft, for two further Dash 8-400 aircraft.
The airline is looking to immediately deploy its new Dash 8-400 aircraft, registered MSN4626 and MSN4628, for operation.
“TrueNoord is pleased to be chosen to support their regional connectivity with the versatile and economical Dash 8-400 aircraft,” said Maarten Grift, TrueNoord Sales Manager for Africa, Middle East, and CIS in a company statement.
“Increased capacity will enable Ethiopian to boost services domestically and broaden the choice of routes across neighbouring East African countries,” Grift adds.
The new aircraft will join Ethiopian Airlines’ fleet which consists of more than 30 Dash 8-400s and a domestic and regional fleet of more than 60 aircraft, including aircraft such as the Boeing 737 MAX 8.
The airline has firm orders for 25 Boeing 737 MAX 8s
Ethiopian Airlines new Group chief executive, Mesfin Tasew commented on the airline’s expansion and developments towards sustainable solutions.
“The airline is expanding with an important remit to explore new technologies alongside environmental matters and economic solutions,” said Tasew.
“The organisation is committed to a sustainable future for regional aviation and being prepared to meet new demands.”
Tasew also said that the Dash 8-400 model is a suitable choice to deploy and develop the airline’s domestic and regional operations.
“Our growing relationship with TrueNoord is founded upon their ability to provide practical and timely lease options that support our evolving business model. We have continued to use the Dash 8-400 model because it is the ideal aircraft to serve our large domestic and regional network,” he said.
TrueNoords’ agreement with Ethiopian Airlines marks the company’s first entry into the African sector as a lessor, said TrueNoord CEO Anne-Bart Tieleman.
“As we work together in an industry that is coping with sudden change and disruption, it is essential for TrueNoord to support our lessees globally,” Tieleman added.
“We were delighted that Ethiopian Airlines was our first lessee in Africa and that our portfolio of Dash 8-400 aircraft has grown to three in six months,” she continued.
While propping up its own regional and domestic operations, Ethiopian Airlines has also been focused on sharing its fleet capacity with its partners.
The launch of Zambia Airways, which took place on December 1, 2021, was backed by a joint venture between Ethiopian Airlines and the Industrial Development Corporation Limited (IDC), a government-owned financial institution based in South Africa.
The Zambian national carrier gained access to $30 million in capital, and leased Bombardier Dash 8-400 fleet capacity from Ethiopian Airlines.
EA also leases its Dash 8-400s to Malawian Airlines, ASKY Airlines and Tchadia Airlines.
As the African aviation industry gears up to expand travel across the continent, and with steps toward an open skies policy and a reshaping of the African airline business, Ethiopian Airlines and its fleet of Dash 8-400s stands as a case study for a successful approach to regional and domestic operations.