Ethiopian Airlines has placed a follow-on order for 10 Bombardier Q400s, plus purchase rights for five additional Q400 turboprops, the Star Alliance member said May 4. With this order, Ethiopian increases its fleet of Q400s to up to 39 aircraft if all purchase rights are exercised. The firm order is valued at approximately $332 million at list prices.

“The market trend for high-performing and larger turboprops is intensifying,” Bombardier Commercial Aircraft President Fred Cromer said, emphasizing this latest booking is Ethiopian’s fifth reorder.

Ethiopian is the largest operator of Q400s in Africa; the airline operates 22 Q400s based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and through its partners at ASKY in Lome, Togo and Malawian Airlines in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Ethiopian is expected to take delivery of two more Q400s in 2018. The 82-seat Q400s will support additional domestic capacity in Ethiopia, as well as the carrier’s new African partnership hubs in Mozambique, Chad, and Equatorial Guinea.

“The Q400 turboprop is a great network builder. Its unmatched performance and outstanding economics has allowed us to better serve the domestic and regional demand in Ethiopia,” Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said. “As we continue to expand our network and build new strategic partnerships in the region, we are confident that the Q400 aircraft will help us develop underserved markets where challenging airports require distinct operational performance such as hot and high capabilities.”

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at