Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MAC) plans to fly the Mitsubishi Regional Jet MRJ to the US as early as Monday this week. The aircraft made its first test flight in November last year. It will fly from Nagoya, Japan to Moses Lake, Washington in the United States. The aircraft turned back and aborted a flight last month due to a faulty air conditioning system.
The Japanese aircraft manufacturer has been developing the aircraft for several years now and believes it is ready to enter the airline regional market. Several tests have already been performed.
The MRJ is a regional jet that can fly between 70 and 90 passengers, depending on the seating configuration. It is powered by two Pratt and Whitney PW 1215G/1217G jet engines. The aircraft is developed by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). The two companies have a partnership with the former being the majority owner.
The Mitsubishi Regional Jet will be the first airliner manufactured in Japan since the NAMC-YS 11 manufactured from 1962-1974 by the Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (now defunct). The MRJ will be entering into a competitive aircraft market. There are other regional jets leading the short to medium range market, such as the Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) and Embraer Regional Jet (ERJ).
The aircraft started development in June 2007. Production was scheduled to be in 2012. The manufacturer has produced 4 MRJ-90 test aircraft so far. Unit costs will start at US$34 Million for the MRJ-70 and US$42 Million for the MRJ-90. Orders have already been placed by several companies, with All Nippon Airways being their first customer with an order for 15 MRJ-90s and an option for 10 more.
The Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation was established in April of 2008. MAC is controlled by MHI with a shareholding of 64%. Mitsubishi Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation each own 10%. Sumitomo and Mitsui are also minority shareholders.