Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX 8 July 2.

The Addis Ababa-based carrier has firm orders for 30 MAX 8 aircraft, the largest of the type in Africa. Ten options were firmed in June 2017.

Ethiopian said the new variant consumes 15% less fuel compared to its current 737-700/800 fleet.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam called latest acquisition an “affirmation of our continuing pioneering role in African aviation and the successful implementation of our fast, profitable and sustainable growth plan, Vision 2025.” He said the carrier’s fleet has an average age of less than 5 years.

With the latest delivery, Ethiopian’s Boeing fleet includes 73 jets, including the 737NG, 737 MAX, 757, 767, 787 and 777s. The fleet also includes Airbus A350-900s and Bombardier Q400s.

On June 5, the Star Alliance member took delivery of its 100th aircraft—a Boeing 787-9—and became the first African airline to operate a 100-aircraft fleet in the history of the continent.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at