The firm orders are valued at $600 million at list prices.

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In a preliminary agreement with Boeing announced today, Ethiopian Airlines said it will order five of Boeing’s new 787 jets, with options for five more. The airline will be the first African operator of the new jet.


The firm orders are valued at $600 million at list prices. The first plane is scheduled for delivery to Addis Ababa in 2008.


Boeing now has191 announced orders or commitments for the 787 from 15 airlines.


Boeing’s partnership with Ethiopian Airlines dates back about 50 years. The carrier became the first African airline to operate jets when it added a Boeing 720B in 1963. Today, it operates an all-Boeing jet fleet of 737 and 767 airplanes.


“You just can’t ignore how far Boeing has advanced the technology of commercial aviation with the 787 Dreamliner,” said Ethiopian Airlines CEO Ato Girma Wake. “The 787 represents the future — one in which Ethiopian Airlines will play a major part.”