Ethiopian expands fleet and network

ETHIOPIAN Airlines Cargo has flown its inaugural flight to Liège Airport, Belgium. The airline moved its European operations from Brussels in June of last year.

The airline’s first leased MD11 freighter – which arrived in January – will fly the route, mainly carrying flowers. Ethiopia is expecting a second MD11F later in the year.

Aviapartner has the contract to handle the cargo at Liège.

The airline is also looking to order a further seven Boeing 787-8s and may order up to 10 787-9s, 777-200LRs or Airbus A350 XWBs this year.

It has 10 787s on firm order to replace its 10 767s. The first was to have already arrived but delays from Boeing have pushed that back to 2010.

Fleet and equipment planning manager, Beza Tesfaye said: “The 787 will represent the majority of our fleet composition by the end of the next 10 years. Over the next 10 to 15 years we will grow our 787 fleet to 17.”

The carrier’s seven leased 767s will be phased out by 2018 and the remaining three that it owns will either be sold or converted to freighters.

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