MHI launches Mitsubishi Regional Jet Programme

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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has officially launched the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), 24 hours after All Nippon Airways announced it will order up to 25 MRJ90s aircraft (15 firm and 10 options).

Beginning 1st April 2008, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, a new company established by MHI to conduct MRJ business, will accelerate the MRJ's development and further strengthen sales activities to potential customers worldwide.

"As Japan's first company to manufacture and market original passenger jetliners, Mitsubishi Aircraft will fulfill a long-cherished wish of the Japanese aircraft industry, leveraging technological expertise that MHI has built up through its aerospace business," MHI said in a statement.

Mitsubishi Aircraft will be responsible for various key activities in the MRJ project, including the jetliner's design, acquisition of type certification, procurement, sales and customer support. MHI's Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works will manufacture both the prototype aircraft and production models; it will also be in charge of the MRJ's flight testing.

Mitsubishi Aircraft was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of MHI capitalized at 3 billion yen ($30 million) in common stock and capital reserve, with plans calling for an increase up to 100 billion yen in line with business operations development.

MHI plans to furnish roughly two-thirds of the requisite capital, and to secure the remaining equity investment it has approached companies including Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Sumitomo Corporation and the Development Bank of Japan.

MHI targets an entry into service in 2013.