Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) confirmed a new delay to its M90 SpaceJet program, acknowledging on February 6 that it will not be able to complete type certification of the new narrowbody during 2020. The Japanese manufacturer now says that it cannot give a new target date for service entry until a redesigned test model (aircraft 10010) has been fully prepared to start test flights in the U.S. later this year.
MHI announced the troubled program’s sixth delay following a quarterly financial briefing. A company spokesman told AIN that the decision to further push back type certification follows multiple additional design changes to the 76-seat aircraft. He said that Mitsubishi now has “a baseline certifiable design that will allow us to achieve certification” while adding that “as we gain clarity as to the impact of these changes, it has become clear that we will not achieve certification in FY2020.”
MHI also reported that Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation president Hisakazu Mizutani is to become the group’s chairman in April. He will be replaced as president by MHI president and CEO Takaowi Niwa.
In January 2017, Mitsubishi delayed first delivery of the aircraft that was then designated the MRJ90 from mid-2018 to mid-2020 due to revisions to certain systems and electrical configurations to meet the latest certification requirements. At that point, the company already stood liable for four major delays of the MRJ90, the most recent of which moved planned certification from the second quarter of 2017 to the second quarter of 2018. The revised mid-2020 target date would have meant that the airliner was already seven years behind the original service entry date, set at program launch back in 2008.
In June 2019, Mitsubishi redesignated the 76-seat MRJ70 the M100 and the 88-seat MRJ90 as the M90, at the same time adopting the SpaceJet brand name. The M100 model meets the 86,000-pound maximum takeoff weight threshold to comply with U.S. pilot union scope clause agreements. Japan’s All Nippon Airways remains the program’s launch customer.