Ethiopian Airlines has placed an order with Boeing for five Boeing 777-200LRs valued at US$1.3 billion, and Turkish Airlines finalized an order for seven Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes valued at US$1.9 billion at current list prices. This order is in addition to the five 777-300ERs that Turkish Airlines ordered in April 2009, bringing their total 777-300ER orders to 12.

Ethiopian Airlines will become the first African carrier to order and operate the ultra-long-range 777-200LR model and was the first African carrier to order the 787 Dreamliner, ordering 10 in 2005. The airline will use the 777-200LR to fly to new long-haul nonstop markets such as Washington, DC and Beijing. Ethiopian Airlines is currently an all-Boeing operator – with the exception of the 747, it has operated every heritage Boeing commercial airplane since the 707. Ethiopian currently operates a fleet of six 737s, nine 757s, 10 767s and one MD-11BCF, with a second MD-11BCF due to arrive in August. It has 10 787s on order.

“The Boeing 777 will be integral as we bring our business to the next level,” said Ethiopian Airlines chief executive officer Ato Girma Wake. “Boeing has been an important and valued partner to Ethiopian for many, many years. This order reinforces the deep ties between our two companies.”

Turkish Airlines currently operates a fleet of 65 Boeing airplanes including Next-Generation 737s and leased 777-300ERs.

“The 777-300ER already provides Turkish Airlines with exceptional fuel economy, efficiency, reliability, and high levels of cabin comfort for their passengers, combined with unmatched levels of payload and range,” said Aldo Basile, vice president of sales for Europe and Russia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “This additional order is a further confirmation of Turkish Airline’s plans for international expansion and their confidence in the abilities of the 777-300ER to help them meet these goals.”