Ethiopian Airlines tired of waiting for Dreamliner, orders jets from Airbus

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Airbus SAS won an order from Ethiopian Airlines for 12 of its upcoming A350 aircraft in a deal valued at about $2.8 billion at list price, bringing its total orders for the plane to 505.

The airline had earlier signed a memorandum of understanding to buy 12 A350 passenger jets from Airbus after delays in the order for 10 of Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft. That order, placed in June 2005, still stands.

The African airline will take first delivery of the A350 in 2017, and it may need to lease some planes before then, the company said at the Dubai Air show today.

Airbus’s A350, a long-range widebody plane, is set to compete with Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner model, which seats about 250 to 300 passengers, as well as its 777, which seats 300 to 450. The first 787, originally scheduled for first delivery May 2008, has been pushed back by at least 2 1/2 years, with the company now promising it in late 2010.

Airbus has said it plans to deliver its first A350 widebody jetliner in 2013 and expects to reach capacity of 10 airliners a month at full production.