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Boeing signs off on a $1.3 billion deal at Dubai Airshow

  • Ethiopian Airlines will take delivery of 4 large cargo planes at a cost of $1.3 billion
  • Deliveries will be made in 2018 and 2019
  • Ethiopian said it is still discussing an option for the 777X passenger plane

Boeing has announced it is to sell four cargo freighters to Ethiopian Airlines at a total list price of $1.3 billion.

The order should see the aircraft delivered in 2018 and 2019. Two of the four planes were a firming of a commitment announced in June.

Speaking at the Dubai Airshow Tuesday, the Chief Executive of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebremariam, said the deal underlined the vitality of air traffic in North Africa.

"Ours is a fast growing region and we expect growth. There is enough demand for us and competitors," he said.

Gebremariam added his airline was also still in discussions to buy Boeing's long-range 777X, due to enter service in 2019.

Duncan Chard | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The chief executive also said the airline is looking to replace its mid-size jet fleet and would potentially commit to between 10 and 20 of Boeing's New Midsize Airplane (NMA) that the U.S. manufacturer announced earlier this year.

The NMA is to be a twin-aisle plane with a capacity for 220 to 270 passengers and, if it achieves its program target, would enter service in 2025.

The Ethiopian deal is adding to Boeing's success on what is turning out to be a relatively muted airshow in terms of orders. On Sunday, Dubai's Emirates airline unveiled a provisional $15.1 billion order for 40 of Boeing's 787-10 jetliners.

Then on Monday, Boeing and Kuwait-based ALAFCO Aviation Lease and Finance Company (ALAFCO) finalized an order for 20 additional 737 MAX 8s.

That deal, valued at $2.2 billion at current list prices, was first announced as a commitment at the Paris Airshow in June.