Mitsubishi Specifies Certification Schedule for MRJ

 - May 7, 2013, 10:25 AM
Mitsubishi Aircraft marketing director Yugo Fukuhara said that the MRJ90 is on track to achieve a first flight in the fourth quarter of 2013. [Photo: Gregory Polek]

Mitsubishi Aircraft remains on schedule to fly the first MRJ90 during the fourth quarter of this year, a full two years ahead of expected certification, director of marketing Yugo Fukuhara told an RAA Convention press conference in Montreal this morning.

Now counting three customers for the MRJ, the company for the first time acknowledged the loss of a memorandum of understanding from ANI Leasing of Hong Kong for five airplanes. The MRJ’s launch customer, All Nippon Airways, still is set to take the first airplane—an MRJ90—at either the end of 2015 or early 2016.

Mitsubishi plans to deliver the first MRJ90 to St. Louis-based Trans States Airlines in 2016 and St. George, Utah-based SkyWest in 2017. Both those airlines hold orders for the 92-seat MRJ90 but also hold conversion rights to take the smaller, 76-seat MRJ70. Much will depend on the scope clause environment by the time the airlines take delivery, explained Fukuhara. Most North American scope clauses limit RJ capacity at regional affiliates to 76 seats. Not coincidentally, a two-class MRJ90 would seat 76 passengers.

In Montreal, Mitsubishi is displaying a new 27-foot-long cabin mockup featuring two seating classes, a complete galley and a wheelchair accessible lavatory. The Japanese manufacturer claims that the MRJ 90 (with up to 92 seats) will achieve 20 percent better fuel burn than rival Embraer E190 (100 seats).