Mitsubishi SpaceJet: An endless tale of Delays, Rebranding and Testing

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, the Japanese Aircraft manufacturer, is infamous for its delayed launch schedules, corporate reshuffles, and prolonged testing phases. Recently, the company announced its sixth delay putting it years behind its initially planned schedule. Earlier Mitsubishi was eying mid-2020 to deliver the first order of its twin-engine SpaceJet M90 –renamed from MRJ90 – to one of its oldest clients, All Nippon Airways. The announcement was made in Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation’s third-quarter financial report which stated: “first commercial delivery of SpaceJet is expected to be in FY2021 or later.”

Renamed to Mitsubishi SpaceJet:

At last year’s Paris airshow; the company announced a rebranding of their Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) project to Mitsubishi SpaceJet. Consequently, the company’s MRJ 90 model was renamed to SpaceJet M90 whereas the MRJ 70 variant was discontinued and replaced with the new SpaceJet M100. Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation President Hisakazu Mizutani called this move a “result of our research and development during the past few years and the answer to the regional market’s current and future needs.”

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©Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation

A ray of hope?

Mitsubishi Aircraft has high hopes for its aircraft -but before they can be delivered- it will need the 90-seat SpaceJet M90 model to be certified. The 76-seat SpaceJet M100 variant – aimed specifically to satisfy the US scope clauses- also has a long way to go before it can hit the global aviation market. A good sign for the company, however, has come in the form of the successful maiden test flight of Flight Test Vehicle 10 (FTV-10); “the first Mitsubishi SpaceJet M90 in final, certifiable baseline configuration.” The test flight-which lasted for two hours, was conducted on March 18th in Nagoya, Japan. Company President, Hisakazu Mizutani added

I am very pleased that FTV10, which was handed over from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in January this year, successfully conducted its first flight today

Mitsubishi SpaceJet M90
SpaceJet M90 ©Matti Blume

Mitsubishi has also restructured its executive board and conceptualized itself to “become one of the leading commercial aviation companies in the world.” Mr. Takaoki Niwa is due to assume his duties as new President of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation from April 1st, 2020.

If Mitsubishi Aircraft is to succeed in capturing its share of the global market, it must also remain wary of the Chinese competition -offered by COMAC -which has already entered the crowded field. However, with the recent developments in place; there is hope that the company can finally obtain certification for its aircraft and begin production.

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