Mitsubishi Steps Up Assembly of MRJ Prototype
Mitsubishi Aircraft executives here at the Singapore Airshow yesterday insisted that the four-times-delayed MRJ program has found its stride, notwithstanding recent concerns expressed by its largest customer, SkyWest of the U.S. During a program update at the Singapore Airshow, Mitsubishi Aircraft (Booth V87) director and head of sales Yugo Fukuhara reported that airframe manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will join the wings to the now mostly assembled first fuselage in April, followed by the tail “in a few months.”
Schedules now call for completion of certification testing and first delivery to Japan’s All Nippon Airways in the second quarter of 2017, two years after first flight.
“All our customers have been very supportive,” Fukuhara told AIN at the show. “The relationship [with SkyWest] is still very good and we are confident they will continue to support the program.” Fukuhara said Mitsubishi and SkyWest have agreed on a new delivery schedule and that SkyWest will take its first MRJ90 in 2018, roughly a year after ANA takes its first airplane.
Announced last autumn, the program’s latest delay resulted from the company’s failure to properly forecast the effects of new U.S. Federal Aviation Administration procedures introduced in 2009 to validate regulatory compliance of production processes. It shifted the testing schedule by as much as two years meaning, if all goes as now planned, the time between program launch and certification would span ten years.