DHL-Ethiopian JV plans additional growth, but does that mean additional freighters?

DHL-Ethiopian Airlines Logistics Services, the joint venture between DHL Global Forwarding and Ethiopian Airlines, is looking to expand its operations in Ethiopia and has appointed Berhanu Kassa as its general manager. Kassa was previously director of logistics services at Ethiopian.

While the JV isn’t solely focused on air logistics, this particular mode will be especially important as the country, as well as the continent in general, continues to grow, both economically and demographically.

Ethiopian is already the largest African carrier, with ten 777Fs and two 737-800SFs, but has previously said that it was planning to grow its freighter fleet to nineteen aircraft as part of its Vision 2025 strategy. Given the size of the market and the fact that Addis Ababa (ADD) arguably serves as a hub for the entire continent, Cargo Facts believes that even more dedicated cargo aircraft for Ethiopian wouldn’t be unreasonable.

We previously reported that the carrier was planning to order additional 737-800 freighters, likely -800SFs converted by Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI) and leased from GECAS. More narrowbody freighters such as the 737-800Fs would seem almost essential for Ethiopian if it is to fulfil its plan of enhancing connectivity across Africa for both exports and imports, centered around the ADD hub. Markets that outgrow the current belly capacity can then be served with the 737Fs, which would also allow the airline to launch other new routes.

And with Boeing keen to continue selling more 777s, particularly the freighter variant, Cargo Facts would also not be surprised to see a top-up order for the type from Ethiopian.


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