Ethiopian Airlines has officially confirmed that after a lengthy time studying whether to order the Boeing 777-8/9X family over the Airbus A350-1000X, it has decided to opt for the smaller Boeing 777-8X (15 units) as the future backbone aircraft to service its long haul operational needs.
ET operates its base out of a high altitude airport (ADD) and as well carries a lot of cargo in both directions especially on its Asia bound flights hence requires the maximum payload possible upon take off in particular out of ADD to ensure full realization of the economic potential that its chosen aircraft provides.
Keeping into account the above, ET decided to order the Boeing 777-8X which is a direct modern replacement of the Boeing 777-200LR. ET cited the aircraft's flying performance range + its on board capacity of 360 passengers is ideal to meet its commercial needs as the larger Boeing 777-900 is a bit too big.
As a result, the airline's future wide body fleet by 2025 shall look like this:
15 Boeing 777-800X
13 Boeing 787-800
14 Airbus A350-900
Total 42 aircraft