Mitsubishi recruits BAE for MRJ engine help

 - February 23, 2010, 5:05 AM

Mitsubishi Aircraft has hired the engineering division of BAE Systems Regional Aircraft to provide design integration and certification services for the development of its new MRJ regional jet. The program will focus on the integration of the aircraft’s propulsion system, specifically on the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engine and its pylons, nacelles, auxiliary power units and fuel systems.

Most of the work will take place at BAE Systems’ facility at Prestwick, Scotland. Support will come from BAE liaison personnel at Mitsubishi’s headquarters in Nagoya, Japan, and at Pratt & Whitney’s facility at Hartford, Conn.

Meanwhile, BAE Systems Asset Management has embarked on what could prove a challenging year for leasing or selling BAe 146 and Avro RJ jets coming back into its portfolio at the end of leases. These will include 13 Avro RJ85s that are to be returned by Lufthansa and a number of RJ100s from British Airways CitiFlyer.

At a February 8 press conference in London, the company’s marketing and analysis vice president, Rob Morris, acknowledged that there remains significant overcapacity in the airline market with the continued arrival of new aircraft. However, he maintained that the low cost of acquisition for the 146 and RJ, and the resulting ease with which they can be financed on lease or purchase terms, means that they continue to be attractive to developing regional airline markets such as Indonesia, South Africa and South America. Steve Doughty, BAE Asset Management’s senior vice president for sales and marketing, said that the company was pleased with its efforts last year, when it managed to sell or lease 44 aircraft.

BAE has just placed the four remaining ATP twin turboprops and now has no other turboprop aircraft in its portfolio, following the earlier placement of the last remaining Jetstream. It has leased three of the ATPs to European Turboprop Management for use by its West Atlantic Group cargo operator West Air, and the fourth ATP has gone to Florida-based Regional One.