Mitsubishi Taps Boeing for MRJ Support

 - June 27, 2011, 8:28 AM
Boeing Commerical Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh joined Mitsubishi Aircraft president Hideo Egawa to launch an MRJ support collaboration in Paris. (Photo: Mark Wagner)

Boeing will help provide customer support for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet under the terms of a 10-year contract announced in Paris last week between the U.S. aerospace giant and Mitsubishi Aircraft. Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh joined Mitsubishi Aircraft president Hideo Egawa to launch the partnership, under which Boeing Commercial Aviation Services will help with spare parts provisioning, service operations and field services for the MRJ.

“One of our oldest and most trusted partners has been MHI [Mitsubishi Heavy Industries] over the years,” said Albaugh. “Its products go on every airplane that we deliver. It’s interesting. Mitsubishi has always been a supplier to us, but today the Boeing Company is very proud to become a supplier to Mitsubishi. We believe the MRJ is going to be a terrific regional jet. You can see by the order book that it’s being accepted in the marketplace and we know they’re going to sell many, many more.”

Earlier in the week Mitsubishi announced a memorandum of understanding with Hong Kong-based ANI Group Holdings, an aircraft-lease and maintenance company, covering a firm order for five MRJs. ANI Group currently leases aircraft to five Indonesian airlines.

Mitsubishi called the new order an important first step towards cultivating the fast-growing Asian market for Mitsubishi Aircraft outside of Japan. Until the ANI signing, Japan’s ANA stood as the only Asian customer for the MRJ.

Albaugh also made note of an earlier agreement under which Boeing will assist Mitsubishi in the flight-test program and consult on development, marketing and post-sales activities of the MRJ. The new support agreement does not directly call for sales and marketing collaboration, however, said Mitsubishi executive vice president Junichi Miyakawa.

“We will be helping them with things such as operations centers, where customers can call in 24 hours a day if they have issues,” said Albaugh. “We’re going to help them with spares provisioning, we’re going to do things to help them with health management of the airplane and can also provide fuel service.”

Although the deal calls for so-called parts provisioning, Mitsubishi’s Egawa said that the contract does not provide for warehousing or spare parts distribution. Miyakawa explained that the parts provisioning aspect of the deal calls for consultation with airlines on the kind of parts they will need in preparation for operations.