Ethiopian Airlines leading in fleet expansion
At the Dubai Air Show in 2009, Ethiopian ordered 12 Airbus A350-900s and has a total of 14 aircraft on order. In 2012, the operator also became the first operator of the Boeing 787 of which it now operates 13 aircraft and has another 6 on order. The airline also has 20 MAX aircraft on order. With these orders Ethiopian is the fastest growing airline in Africa and will have one of the most fuel efficient fleets on the African continent. The Airbus A350 will likely be used to increase frequency to China and open routes to North America.
With the introduction of fuel efficient aircraft, the airline will be phasing out the Boeing 767. The 7 Boeing 767-300ERs that are still in service will be retired in 2017 and 2018
Airbus presents the A350-900 as a 325-seat aircraft and 315 seats in 2-class configuration. Ethiopian Airlines will be operating its A350s with 348 seats. 30 seats are placed in Business Class (Cloud Nine) and 318 seats in Economy Class. With this seat division the African carrier is going for a high density seating configuration. The Airbus A350 offers 87% of the capacity available on their Boeing 777-300ERs.