Ethiopian Airlines completes Africa’s first B767 pax-to-freighter conversion

Shutterstock / Hafit Irawan

Ethiopian Airlines (EA) completed the first passenger to freighter conversion of one of its B767 aircraft, becoming the first African airline to convert a B767. 

The aircraft, one of three B767s in EA’s fleet, was converted in partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) at the airline’s MRO facilities in Addis Ababa, according to a statement published by Ethiopian Airlines.  

The aircraft will be deployed to support and expand EA’s cargo operations to meet demand for e-commerce in Addis Ababa, according to Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Mesfin Tasew. 

“As a fast-growing airline, our partnership with IAI, one of the global technology leaders in the Aerospace industry, is crucial in technology and skill transfer in the field of maintenance, repair and overhaul,” said Tasew in the statement.  

Tasew added, “Ethiopian Airlines is committed to get closer to its customers with high quality cargo services. In addition to our latest freighter fleets, the converted B767 aircraft will augment our growing local and international cargo destinations with more load capacities.” 

According to the statement, Ethiopian Airlines’ second B767 aircraft, currently undergoing the same conversion, is expected to be completed in a few months. 

Ethiopian Airlines fleet modernization  

The conversion is part of EA’s fleet modernization program targeting the replacement of ageing airplanes with “ultramodern and technologically-advanced” aircraft, the airline continued.  

In July 2022, Ethiopian Airlines (EA) became Africa’s first airline customer of the A350-1000 after it upsized four of its A350-900 on order to the largest variant of the A350 Family. 

In a statement Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew stated that “upsizing” to the A350-1000 will allow the airline to “stay ahead of the curve in technology”. 

The Addis Ababa-based carrier also boosted its all-Boeing cargo fleet with an order for five 777 Freighters, in May 2022. 

Ethiopian Airlines’ cargo-dedicated fleet is comprised of four 737-800 freighters as well as nine Boeing B777-200LRF. 

In addition to the airline’s cargo fleet, EA operates a combined passenger fleet of “more than 80 Boeing jets” including 737s, 767s, 787s and 777s. 


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