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Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopia’s national flag carrier received with great fanfare what it said was Africa’s first Boeing 777 Freighter on September 20 at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.
The arrival of the first B777 freighter is part of a package of deals with Boeing that will see Ethiopian receive five more additional cargo planes intended to boost exports and alleviate complaints particularly from the Horticultural industry  about the lack of accommodation for its perishable products; like flowers, fruits and vegetables.

The B777F aircraft is known for its long range capability, cargo uplift and reduced fuel consumption and with a capacity of carrying 105 tons of cargo is expected to supplement Ethiopian’s cargo fleet which is currently the largest cargo operator in Africa with a fleet of two B747-200, two MD-11Fs, and two B757Fs.
The two B747s have 100 tons of capacity each and the two MD-11Fs with 85 tons of capacity each are specifically allocated for the export of horticultural products from Ethiopia.
Deriba Kuma Minister of Transport said the arrival of the B777 freighters is expected to boost the country’s attempt to increase exports to reach between USD 5-10 billion by the end of the Growth and Transformation Plan in 2015.
“Much of our exports will consist of perishables, where we have competitive advantages and which we are now utilizing in order to generate foreign currency,” said Diriba adding that it’s also expected to create employment opportunities and serve as a springboard for the transformation of Ethiopia into an industrial led economy.
Ethiopian, as part of its long term strategic roadmap, vision 2025, has identified cargo business as one of the seven profit centers where it can increase its revenue.
Tewolde Gebremarian CEO of Ethiopian said B777 freighter aircraft have unparalleled performance in their category of airplanes because they have long range capability, exceptional cargo uplift, special capabilities in temperature control for fresh produce and life science materials. They are also very fuel  efficient and as a result will be deployed on longer routes for transporting horticulture products with the aim of accelerating Ethiopia’s exports.
The national air carrier expects to consolidate its freight service network to 15 destinations in Africa, 7 in the Middle East and 2 in Europe.
Ethiopian is also planning to achieve the above mentioned goals by planning to build a large cargo terminal (both dry and perishable), which will have a capacity of 1.2 million tons. 
The perishable cargo terminal reportedly will be, in terms of capacity, one of the biggest in the world, aiming to be bigger than that of Amsterdam Schipol airport and the Dubai Flower Center.
The Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency (EHDA) the government agency tasked with promoting the horticulture industry and exports had recently said it has secured USD 250 million in the last Ethiopian fiscal year 2012/13 from export of horticultural products.
The products were mainly exported to Europe, Middle East, Asia and North America. Currently there are some seven foreign companies which have engaged in horticulture development on 1050 hectares in the just ended fiscal year.