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Ethiopian Airlines switching to Airbus after deadly Boeing 737 MAX crash

Ethiopian Airlines is switching to Airbus after deadly Boeing 737 MAX crash
Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebre Mariam

Ethiopian Airlines is reportedly at the final stages of striking a $1.6 billion deal with European aerospace giant Airbus for the purchase of 20 of its narrow-body A220 jets.

According to a report, citing the airline’s CEO Tewolde Gebre Mariam, the state-owned airline is considering a purchase of a whole fleet of Airbus aircraft.

This is not the first time Africa’s largest air carrier is looking at purchasing the 100-seat Airbus A220s for its fleet. The airline was considering European jets last year, however, it eventually had decided to go with larger Boeing 737 family aircraft.

“It’s a good airplane – we have been studying it long enough,” Tewolde was cited as saying about the Airbus A220 aircraft.

The agreement is set to be completed by the end of the year. Should the deal go through, it would be the airline’s first order since the crash of its Boeing 737 MAX in March.

According to Tewolde, Ethiopian Airlines faced difficulties operating large Boeing 737 MAX, as it had to stop off at a second destination on flights from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to cities including Windhoek in Namibia and the Botswana capital Gaborone for refueling. Operating Airbus A220s will allow direct flights with no additional stops.

Ever since Boeing’s best-selling 737 MAX jets have been grounded after two deadly crashes earlier this year, Airbus’ profits have been growing exponentially, while Boeing posted its largest-ever quarterly loss in July, calculating the total cost of the 737 MAX crisis at over $8 billion.