Ethiopian Airlines expects to make a decision next year on an order for a 100-seater type and is carefully watching Boeing’s plans for a Mid-Market Aircraft (MMA), the airline’s group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said at the Dubai Air Show.

The decision on the 100-seater was originally planned for 2016, with several contenders in the frame for an order. “It’s an issue that needs deep analysis,” Gebremariam said.

Bombardier’s CSeries and Embraer’s E2 family are among those being considered, Gebremariam said, but the Addis Ababa-based airline is also looking at Boeing’s 737 MAX 7.

At between 138-152 seats in typical two-class configurations, the MAX 7 is substantially larger than the Canadian and Brazilian aircraft, but Ethiopian has to consider whether the benefits of fleet commonality should take priority. The airline already operates nine Boeing 737-700s and 16 737-800s, and has 30 MAX 8s on order.

Gebremariam also said Ethiopian is interested in a new aircraft that can fill the slot previously held by the Boeing 757 that has the right combination of range and payload, “especially when taking into account the altitude at Addis Ababa.” Ethiopia’s capital lies at 7,500 ft. (2,350m).

Ethiopian is potentially interested in taking 10 to 20 MMA-sized aircraft, which would be used for expanding the fleet, rather than replacing old capacity.

Talks are still continuing with Boeing over an order for the 777X, Gebremariam said.

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com