Ethiopian Airlines Takes Delivery Of A Converted 737 Freighter

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest airline in Africa, has just received a newly converted Boeing 737-800SF passenger-to-freighter (P2F) aircraft from Ft Lauderdale-based GA Telesis. Ethiopian Airlines’ new cargo aircraft was delivered to the airline from Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (“AEI”) authorized Conversion Center, Commercial Jet, in Miami. A second Boeing 737-800 that used to belong to Mesa Airlines is currently being converted by AIE and is expected to be delivered in May 2021.

Ethiopian Airlines B737-800FS
GA Telesis converted the former Mesa Airlines 737-800. Photo: EA

The arrival of the newly converted Boeing 737-800 will allow the African carrier to augment its short-haul cargo capability in Africa and the Middle East. It will be of vital importance in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.

The B737-800SF is for short-haul routes

When speaking about the passenger to freighter conversion deal, GA Telesis chief investment officer Marc Cho said the following in a company statement:

“We are proud to launch our commitment to the freighter aircraft market with Ethiopian Airlines as a partner. Ethiopian has, throughout this crisis, cemented themselves as one of the world’s top carriers.” Adding, “They have demonstrated their ability to be creative and agile by focusing on the cargo segment to offset a reduction in passenger volume as a result of this pandemic.”

In the same statement, group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde GebreMariam said:

“I would like to express my delight about the delivery of the B737-800SF converted freighter aircraft. The delivery is a significant addition to our freighter capacity and frequency and will enhance our capability to serve short-haul destinations in Africa and the Middle East more economically, including the transportation of much-needed medical supplies and vaccines.

“This time, we are not just receiving another aircraft, we are also showing to the world that Ethiopian stands firm through a storm and strives to widen its strength and reach corners of the world with much-needed medical supplies and vaccines to save lives.”

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Ethiopian celebrates Preighter flights

In other Ethiopian Airlines-related news, the Star Alliance member just celebrated the anniversary of its first-ever cargo-only service on a passenger aircraft. On March 25, 2020, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787-9 departed Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) for N’djili Airport (FIH) in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Onboard the flight rather than passengers, the Dreamliner carried more than 16 tons of much-needed PPE and other shipments.

Ethiopian Airlines Preighter
Ethiopian Airlines’ first Preighter flight was a Boeing 787-9 to Kinshasa. Photo EA

Following a massive decline in passenger numbers brought about by the coronavirus, Ethiopian Airlines quickly shifted its focus to cargo operations, becoming one of the first airlines to use passenger space for cargo. Determined to help deliver much-needed PPE and medical supplies to the world, Ethiopian Airlines reconfigured 25 passenger aircraft using in-house maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO).

Since the first Preighter flight in March of last year, Ethiopian Airlines has delivered more than 121,750 tons of cargo across its enormous global network. In total, Ethiopian Airlines has, to date, carried out more than 5,645 cargo flights aboard passenger aircraft.

Ethiopian is working with UNICEF

Since the start of the global medical emergency, Ethiopian Airlines has stepped up to the plate by offering its services to many humanitarian organizations, including the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

Ethiopian Airlines cargo
Ethiopian Airlines cargo is working with UNICEF to help deliver COVID-19 vaccines. Photo: EI

Currently, Ethiopian Airlines is working closely with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and logistics company Cainiao to help deliver COVID-19 vaccines around the world.

What do you think about Ethiopian Airlines and the work they are doing to help deliver COVID-19 vaccines? Please tell us what you think in the comments.

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