Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MAJ, Nagoya Chubu) is reportedly courting Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) as a potential customer and wants to establish a maintenance centre in Ethiopia to serve other prospective operators of the MRJ90 in the region, Ethiopia’s honorary consul to Japan Nagato Natsume told The Reporter.

Natsume added that while initial talks have reportedly been held between the carrier and the manufacturer, deliveries - if the deal is finalised - are unlikely to commence before 2022 or 2023.

In July 2018, the airline scrubbed its plans to add regional jets to its fleet for the time being. CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said at the time that the market was growing so fast, that the airline could think of using its narrowbodies on routes which it earlier wanted to serve with 100-seaters.

Currently, Ethiopian Airlines's regional fleet consists of seventeen Dash 8-400s and no regional jets.

Mitsubishi did not secure any orders from Africa for its regional jet, which is currently undergoing certification with deliveries due to begin in 2020, after a series of delays. Recently, AirAsia Group came forward as another high-profile airline to say it was considering MRJ90s.