Japan showed off its first passenger jet today after a hold-up of about four years, with some assistance from bullet train experts as it plans for test flights a year from now.
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. unveiled the regional jet to the general public in Nagoya after three hold-ups as clients including ANA Holdings Inc. and Skywest Inc. expect a delivery. Mitsubishi is building 78- and 92-seat variants of the plane, assigned MRJ, and has made arrangements to direct its first flight by June. The larger jet will be accessible first.
Japan and China are contending to break the hold of Embraer SA and Bombardier Inc. available for smaller traveler jets. With the Chinese project likewise postponed, Mitsubishi's Pratt & Whitney turbofan-engined MRJ will be a test of whether a new rival can effectively break into the small group of dominant aircraft makers. Boeing Co. as well as its European rival Airbus Group NV have a hold over the business sector for bigger passenger planes.
Richard Aboulafia, vice president of Teal Group, Fairfax, Virginia-based consultant, said that regardless of hold-ups, the MRJ is still ready to be first in the regional jet market with a cutting edge engine.
One benefit that Mitsubishi has is that it has a order book, including alternatives for 407 jets. All Nippon will be the pilot carrier, and three more airlines boosting the count to six. While the request book is a decent beginning, Aboulafia said, the MRJ program needs to demonstrate it can be aggressive even against the business pioneer.
Mitsubishi Aircraft targets winning a large portion of the worldwide market for regional jets in the following 20 years as Bombardier concentrates on its new CSeries planes, likewise postponed, which will have the capacity to carry up to 160 travelers.
Mitsubishi Aircraft, located in Nagoya, inherited railway project managers from guardian Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to tighten control of the regional jet development and help overcome improvement of bottlenecks that hinder the plane's launch by around four years. The organization has supported the numbers of engineers on the venture by 30 percent to 1,300, President Teruaki Kawai said recently.
Mitsubishi in 2008 unveiled plans to manufacture Japan's first passenger jet and has since pushed back the date for test flights three times. The organization expects worldwide demand for territorial planes to be around 5,000 planes over the two-decade period to 2030.
Japan's Honda Motor Co. is creating a small business jet that can carry up to six travelers, and is scheduled to go on sale a year from now. The organization says it’s won two to three years of business orders for its so called “flying sports car”.