[Avionics Magazine 01-23-2017] The first delivery of the first commercial airliner aircraft domestically manufactured in Japan, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), has been delayed by two years. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. made the announcement Monday, Jan. 23, citing necessary new “revisions” as the reason for the delay.
Mitsubishi Regional Jet. Photo: Mitsubishi Aircraft.
First launched in 2008, the latest delay for the MRJ program will mean the aircraft will not be ready for entry into service until 2020, seven years after the Japanese original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) original targeted date of 2013. The latest announcement marks the fifth major delay to the MRJ90’s flight-testing and validation program. Certification of the aircraft was originally planned for the second quarter of 2017.
“The change is due to revisions of certain systems and electrical configurations on the aircraft to meet the latest requirements for certification,” MHI said in the statement released Monday.
In a program update accompanying the announcement of the latest delay, MHI says the electrical configurations and systems “revisions” will not impact the aircraft’s performance, fuel consumption or functionality of systems. Design changes will not impact the aircraft’s structure, and the company says it has already successfully completed a static structure test with "ultimate load (150 percent load)."
The ongoing flight-testing program is also scheduled to continue as is, according to the MRJ90 program update.
Mitsubishi describes the MRJ90 as capable of carrying up to 92 passengers, while using 20 percent less fuel than other aircraft in its class. It is also powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. Rockwell Collins is providing its Pro Line Fusion flight deck for the MRJ, with Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS), Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) and European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) compatibility.
The aircraft will compete directly with the latest regional jets from competitors Bombardier’s C Series and Embraer’s E2, the next-generation version of its existing E-175, E-190 and E-195 regional airliners. Similarly, Bombardier experienced several years of delays
in achieving first delivery and entry into service with the C Series last year
. In December, Embraer announced it would delay the scheduled entry into service for the E175-E2 from 2020 to 2021.
“Although the payback period will be prolonged, the impact on profit for each fiscal year will be minimal, and there is virtually no impact on the management of the entire MHI Group,” MHI said.
Along with the announcement of the latest delay, the company says it recently established the MRJ Business Promotion Committee, chaired by MHI President and CEO Shunichi Miyanaga, to “oversee the continued development and long-term business performance of the MRJ.” All Nippon Airways is the MRJ launch customer, and Mitsubishi has amassed commitments for 427 aircraft, including 233 firm orders and a combined 194 total purchase commitments and purchase rights. Customers for the aircraft include U.S. regional carriers Eastern Air Lines, Sky West Airlines and Trans States Holdings.