Ethiopian Airlines Group plans to convert some of its older De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft to freighters, it announced at the Farnborough Airshow, hoping to take advantage of more air cargo opportunities.
The group and De Havilland Canada have therefore agreed on a purchase proposal for two Dash 8-400 Freighters Large Cargo Door (F-LCD) conversion kits. Ethiopian Airlines also has a purchase option for an additional two F-LCD conversion kits, it said on July 20, 2022.
Both parties are working to finalize a definitive and binding agreement, according to a joint press statement released by Ethiopian Airlines Group and De Havilland Canada.
Ethiopian Airlines sees an opportunity to utilize older Dash 8-400 aircraft for cargo operations according to Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Mesfin Tasew.
“Cargo has played a pivotal role in Ethiopian Airlines’ operations over the past couple of years and will remain a key growth pillar of our business over the coming years,” said Tasew in the joint statement. “The pandemic and subsequent recovery efforts have given rise to significant opportunities in the cargo space, and we see great value in converting our older Dash 8-400 fleet to freighters to capitalize on these growing opportunities.”
Philippe Poutissou, De Havilland Canada, Vice President, Customer Experience commented, “Ethiopian’s proposal with De Havilland Canada is a superb testament to the versatility of the Dash 8-400 aircraft to satisfy a wide variety of operational requirements and we thank Ethiopian for this confidence in the aircraft’s capability.”
De Havilland Canada and Ethiopian Airlines Group have also partnered to offer Dash 8 freighter conversions through Ethiopian Airlines MRO facilities, which are already authorized as a De Haviland Canada Service Facility, added Poutissou.
Poutissou said, “This conversion capability will support Ethiopian’s fleet needs and can be offered to other Dash 8 aircraft operators in Africa and neighbouring regions as an additional choice to the conversions De Havilland Canada can perform in Canada or through our Mobile Repair Team.”