AFP - Ethiopian Airlines will increase its fleet of 787 Boeing Dreamliner airplanes despite the difficulties the aircraft had faced this year, the airline's CEO said on Thursday.
"We like the airplane, it is our future, we are going to order more and we are going to enjoy the benefits of this airplane," Tewolde Gebremariam told reporters.
Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has suffered a series of problems since coming into service, including a global grounding of its fleet this year and a fire on board a parked Ethiopian Airlines flight at London's Heathrow Airport in July.
Tewolde said Ethiopian Airlines had leased three more Dreamliners, boosting its total 787 fleet to 13. It had received five Dreamliners already, and expected to receive the remaining eight by 2015.
The airline plans to order more beyond the 13 aircraft in the pipeline.
"If Boeing can produce them then we will add more," Tewolde said.
The airline said that profits were affected by the three-month grounding of the fleet in January, and said it will seek compensation from Boeing for profits lost.
"There is a discussion going on for compensation according to the contract of purchase, and that is still going on," Tewolde said, adding that the terms of the compensation claim are confidential.
The aircraft that caught fire at Heathrow Airport in July remains under investigation by Britain's Air Accidents Investigations branch.
The cause of the fire, which caused serious smoke damage to the aircraft -- called Queen of Sheba -- originated in the battery of Emergency Locator Transmitter near the rear of the aircraft.
The Dreamliner, which makes extensive use of lighter, carbon-based composite materials that reduce fuel consumption, came into service in September 2011.
The global grounding order came after lithium-ion batteries overheated on two different jets, though the root cause of the malfunction has not been identified.
Ethiopian Airlines is Africa's fastest-growing carrier, and one of the continent's largest next to Egypt Air and South African airways.
The government-owned airline reported revenues of $2 billion (1.5 billion euro) in the last fiscal year.