Ethiopian Airlines expects to take delivery of four Boeing 787s by the end of next year, with the first to be delivered in March.

The airline has 10 firm orders for the 787. It is not clear yet when the remaining six 787s will arrive, said Fikre Degife, the airline's director of sales and services for China, Mongolia and North Korea.

Ethiopian had initially expected its first 787 in 2008, before delays to the programme pushed back delivery dates.

The expected increase in the carrier's fleet size by end-2012 means that Ethiopian can embark on a large-scale increase in its route network, Degife added.

The carrier plans to launch flights to Toronto, Singapore, Seychelles and Damascus from Addis Ababa, he said, adding that flights could start in late 2012.

Ethiopian operates 45 aircraft, of which 40 are passenger aircraft and five are freighters, Flightglobal's ACAS database shows.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news