Confirming Japanese press reports, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has announced that MHI and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation are pushing back the first delivery of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) from mid-2018 to mid-2020. The rescheduling is described as being due to “revisions of certain systems and electrical configurations on the aircraft to meet the latest requirements for certification”.
The announcement marks the fifth delay in the troubled programme, which is seeking to develop the first Japanese commercial airliner since the 1960s. First deliveries were initially scheduled for 2014. Two basic variants are proposed: the MRJ70 (76 seats) and the MRJ90 (88 seats), both powered by Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1200 engines.
MHI says the design changes will not affect aircraft performance, fuel consumption, or functionality of systems. The company maintains that the aircraft structure will not be affected and notes that the aircraft has already been successfully tested to ultimate load (150% maximum load).
MHI declares that it will continue with the ongoing flight test programme with the current test aircraft configuration in order to acquire the flight test data required for certification.
Three of the five MRJ prototypes are currently in flight testing at Moses Lake, near Seattle, with a fourth aircraft expected soon. The first prototype arrived in late September.
MHI recently established the MRJ Business Promotion Committee, chaired by Shunichi Miyanaga, President & Chief Executive Officer of MHI, to oversee the continued development and long-term business performance of the MRJ.