Ethiopian Airlines will become the first airline in Africa to operate Boeing’s long-range 777-200LR after singing an order for five of the Worldliner aircraft under a $1.3bn contract.

Ethiopian Airlines is planning to expand its fleet and broaden its network by flying the aircraft to long-haul destinations such as Washington, DC and Beijing.

The aircraft can fly 301 passengers up to a distance of 9,395nm and offers 47,250lb of revenue cargo capacity.

The airline currently operates a fleet of six 737s, nine 757s, ten 767s and one MD-11BCF, with a second MD-11BCF due to arrive in August. It also has ten 787s on order.

With the order, the airline will become the first African carrier to order and operate the Worldliner.