Ethiopian Airlines might take advantage of delays to the Boeing 787 programme to equip its aircraft with improved versions of the General Electric GEnx engine that will be better suited to Addis Ababa's high airport altitude.

"We really need a good engine and GE has said it will make improvements later. We are already delayed, so we might as well wait to get the good engine," says Ethiopian chief executive designate Tewolde Gebremariam.

The carrier has 10 GEnx-powered 787-8s on order, but late last year outgoing Ethiopian chief Girma Wake indicated that two of these would be switched for the -9 variant.

Ethiopian had expecting its first 787s to arrive around September 2011, but the recent test flight fire may delay this schedule.

Source: Flight International