UPDATE 1-Ethiopian Airlines to order "at least" 10 more Airbus A350-900 - CEO
(adds comments on Airbus, U.S. EXIM Bank closure, background)
By Aaron Maasho
ADDIS ABABA Nov 11 (Reuters) - Ethiopian Airlines plans to place orders for at least 10 Airbus A350-900 aircraft in the next two years, in addition to the 14 already on order, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
The state-owned carrier expects to receive one A350-900 jet in May out of the 14 that are slated for delivery in 2016-18, though the date might be brought forward to 2016-17, with talks currently taking place.
"This fleet (of Airbus A350-900), as a core fleet in our network, is going to grow," Tewolde Gebremariam told Reuters.
"We haven't been able to quantify the right numbers but definitely we are going to order more. At least more than 10," he said.
The state-owned carrier is ranked the largest in Africa by revenue and profit by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global industry body.
Tewolde attributed the recent growth to a rise in passenger numbers and to expansion of maintenance, catering and aviation training services.
In an interview in August, Tewolde said net profit for the 2014/15 year that ended in July rose to 3.5 billion birr ($167.93 million), above the expected 2.9 billion birr. Continuación...