A rollout ceremony held Saturday in Nagoya, Japan, for the Mitsubishi MRJ regional jet marked a symbolic end of a 50-year wait for a new Japanese airliner to take shape. Not since the NAMC YS-11 turboprop flew for the first time in 1962 has a Japanese effort to break into the commercial airplane market reached such a state of progress. Under development for some seven years, the MRJ finally looks like an airplane capable of flying—and ultimately delivering the 20-percent fuel efficiency improvement over current designs Mitsubishi Aircraft advertises.
The past few years have not been easy for Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, the company’s product marketing director Noriyoshi Saito indicated yesterday here at the Farnborough International Airshow. The Japanese manufacturer is nevertheless proudly displaying a cabin mockup of its long delayed Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ).
Mitsubishi Aircraft took delivery early last month of its first Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1200G geared turbofan at the Mitsubishi Regional Jet’s (MRJ) final-assembly factory in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Delivery of the engine from Pratt & Whitney’s Mirabel Aerospace Center in Quebec marks a major milestone toward final assembly of the first MRJ90 flight-test aircraft, which Mitsubishi expects to fly during next year’s second quarter.
Speaking to a gathering of reporters Tuesday at the Regional Airline Association Convention in St. Louis, Mitsubishi Aircraft head of marketing Hideyuki Kamiya reported “good progress” on the now six-year-old Mitsubishi Regional Jet program. Now scheduled for first flight in 2015 and first delivery to Japan’s All Nippon Airways in the second quarter of 2017, the MRJ has progressed to the point where managers expect delivery of the first test aircraft’s initial Pratt & Whitney PW1217G by the end of this month, said Kamiya.
Mitsubishi Aircraft’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 led to the latest delay of the MRJ90, according to company executives.
Mitsubishi Aircraft’s firm order in December for 100 MRJ90s from St. George, Utah-based SkyWest Airlines has not only confirmed the company’s ability to sell the new regional jet in large quantities, it might well have validated the wisdom of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ industrial ambitions.
Mitsubishi Aircraft received a huge dose of credibility at the Farnborough International airshow yesterday by announcing a 100-aircraft commitment for MRJ90s from the largest regional airline holding company in the world–SkyWest Airlines. The agreement in principle, signed just this week, potentially raises the MRJ regional jet family backlog to 170 airplanes and gives Mitsubishi its second major U.S. customer.
The first Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) will fly some time during next year’s fourth quarter, roughly a year later than last anticipated, according to a new program schedule summary issued by Mitsubishi Aircraft on Wednesday.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and SimCom Training Centers have signed a new ten-year deal. Under the agreement, SimCom will continue to provide simulator training for Mitsubishi’s MU-2 twin-engine turboprop for the next decade.
Mitsubishi Aircraft’s official launch of the proposed 100-seat MRJ100X will likely have to wait at least another year–or until after the first flight of the 88-seat MRJ90 some time in the middle of next year, as the company waits for the European airline market to show more tangible signs of recovery.
- Page 1