Ethiopian Turning to Airbus after Boeing Crash

TOULOUSE/France – Officials of European planemaker Airbus say happy to work with Ethiopian Airlines as the national flag carrier close in on a deal to buy as many as 20 narrow-body A220 Airbus planes.

The A220 was formerly known as the Bombardier Inc. C Series before being taken over by Airbus.

Ethiopian could buy between 10 and 20 planes, the airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told Bloomberg, adding the airline “have been studying it long enough”. The A220-100 model costs 81 million USD each, according to 2018 list prices.

Airbus has not ruled out negotiation with the airlines.

“We are in constant discussion with our customers,” said Marie Caujolle, spokesperson of the airbus, told The Daily Monitor at the Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse, France.

Airbus has already received two orders for 20 airplanes of the long-range A350, a model in which Ethiopian already operates.

The order has been made soon after the airlines acquired its first A350 in 2016.

“It is really good for us that Ethiopian is happy to order for more,” said Emilio Alvaret, A350 XWB Product marketing department of the planemaker.

“By 2023, the airline will end up having twenty-four A350 aircrafts,” he said. Ethiopian Airlines will operate the 22 which are directly purchased from Airbus and two are on lease from AerCap, including this first aircraft.

“We are now creating a growing and good relationship with the airlines,” he added.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and France’s President Emmanuel Macron discussed and agreed on ways to increase ties in the aviation sector during Macron’s visit to Addis Ababa, two days after an Ethiopian Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed minutes after taking off, killing all 157 people.

Tewolde repeatedly said the carrier would be the last to resume flights of the currently grounded model, which is nearing a vital test with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Ethiopian has 28 Max aircraft on order, alongside other Airbus, Boeing and turboprop models, according to the company’s website. “It’s only natural for us to be the last one to decide on the Max,” the CEO said.

Photo Caption: At Airbus’ final assembly line for A350 WB in Toulouse, France.