Ethiopian Airlines to decide on plane order in early 2014

Reuters

VIENNA, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Ethiopian Airlines plans to make a decision on a new order for narrow-body aircraft early next year, Chief Executive Tewolde Gebremariam told Reuters on Friday.

The carrier has said it wants to almost double its fleet to 112 planes and carry 18 million passengers over 92 routes by 2025. It has an almost exclusively Boeing fleet, with 14 A350-900 aircraft on order from Airbus, according to its website.

"We are looking at whether it is justified to diversify our fleet," Gebremariam told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting of Star Alliance members in Vienna. "If the answer is 'no', we will continue with the 737 MAX."

He declined to comment on the potential size of the order.

Boeing's 737 MAX is a re-engined version of the narrow-body plane designed to take on Airbus' A320neo. The models compete in the largest segment of the $100 billion annual aircraft market.

The CEO added that a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that caught fire at London Heathrow Airport in July should be back in service by the end of the year.

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