Ethiopian Airline has indicated an intent for "At least 10" Airbus in light of the recent US Congressional stoppage of EX EM shutdown. Fondly, known as student loans for buying with US industry. Many captains of industry depended on these loans for American products, such as a 200 million Dreamliner.
Ethiopian "was" one such customer of Boeing. Not all is lost, even as it contemplates ordering up with Airbus for "at least" 10 A350-900's in the next two years. It already has on the books 14 A350's. It currently has about 19 787 ordered with six more in the queue for delivery. Thirteen are in service currently.
It's hard to imagine how Airbus managed squeezing in an order with Ethiopian without an EX-IM deal backing an Airbus order. Unless it offers internal backed financing from Euro backing. General Motors used to offer GMAC financing for its customers. Boeing should offer its BANC financing for its customers. However, R&D and production efficiency advances have gobbled up capital, to the tune of a $28 Billion hole, where Boeing needs to recover through producing and delivering more 787's. The BANC is in "the Boeing hole". If it can produce and deliver more 787's, it can have a BANC for its customers.
Ethiopian did indicate it had a propensity for Boeing aircraft and would expand its fleet with 777X's sometime. The Airport at Addis Ababa is well situated above 7,000 feet high, having a natural design fearure for both the 787 and 777X operation. Once the 777X flexes its wing tips out, it's off with a greater sum of passengers than what the A350 payload could accommodate going the "distance".
Ethiopian has gobbled up most of the early builds awaiting delivery in its own time. They bought from a happy Boeing, wishing to unload its "Terrible teens" on any airline willing for under $150 million to take them. Even if it will be in the 2016-2017 time frame. The six 787 yet to be delivered are those Terrible Teens. Once again, where is Ethiopian Airlines getting its money for freshly minted A350's unless Airbus will give Ethiopian Airlines a sweet deal like the Boeing Terrible Teens deal. The deal could be in the financing and not the airplane itself.
In two years, Boeing could conceivably offer its BANC for its customers and not depend on the EX-IM debacle for additional sales. Only profitability from the 787 could assure such a move. Only retirement of the 737 MAX and 777X startup push could give Boeing a window to do such a financial endeavor. The Cap on the BANC is set by family backlog. The 747-8i has no backlog, hence no BANC. Go to EX-IM in that case. The MAX through 777X has BANC for its customers at this time. Combined with Marketing deals which are made out of Airbus like thin air at Addis Ababa, Boeing deals are made with both price and financing appeal from its "BANC".