Japan’s first regional airliner, that is 50 years in the making, is finally taking flight as the Mitsubishi Regional Jet began certification flights to rival Boeing and Airbus SE.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd’s 88-passenger jet is testing the skies and aims to deliver its first aircraft in mid-2020. Mitsubishi has delayed delivery of the MRJ five times since 2013 due to design modifications.
Meanwhile, its rival Boeing Co is reportedly buying 80% of Embraer SA’s commercial operations in a joint venture. Bombardier Inc, on the other hand, sold control of its C Series airliner project to Airbus SE and is exploring “strategic options” for its regional-jet operations. Analysts think that Japan’s airliner entry in the market is the right timing.
Mitsubishi initially planned test flights in 2012 but got delayed due to bad weather and change in design and production difficulties. Moreover, Mitsubishi has delayed delivery of the MRJ five times since 2013 due to design modifications.
Two new MRJ models currently under production at the company’s base in Toyoyama, Aichi Prefecture, will also be tested in the United States later this year, the company officials said.