June 19, 2018 / 3:47 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Ethiopian Airlines eyes orders at Farnborough air show

(Adds comments on liberalisation in Africa)

BRUSSELS, June 19 (Reuters) - Ethiopian Airlines may decide on possible orders for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and smaller CSeries or Embraer E2 jets at the Farnborough air show, the African airline’s chief executive said.

“Hopefully we will decide in Farnborough,” Tewolde Gebremariam said on the sidelines of the ACI airports association meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.

The carrier is eyeing 10-20 of the smaller jets, he said. Ethiopian has previously said it was looking at around 13 787s.

The Farnborough air show runs from 16-22 July.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian is also expanding by taking stakes in new airlines in Africa, notably in Guinea, Chad, Zambia and Mozambique, part of a strategy by African countries to integrate more on air transport and create a pan-African airline.

“Ethiopian is in the forefront of leading that integration,” he said.

Ethiopian Airlines could also be partly liberalised too, Gebremariam said, with the government looking at whether it could be opened up to other investors to help it grow.

“(Maybe) some African countries in major markets are interested in cross-ownership of shares,” he said, though he added that the Ethiopian government would keep a majority stake. (Reporting by Victoria Bryan Editing by Tom Sims and Alexandra Hudson)

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