Mitsubishi can adapt MRJ to US scope requirements: SkyWest

San Antonio
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Mitsubishi will adapt the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) to fit the scope requirements of US mainline carriers, says SkyWest Airlines.

Possible changes include configuring the aircraft with the maximum number of seats allowed under existing pilot agreements as well as reclassifying the aircraft to fit weight requirements, says Michael Thompson, vice-president of market development at the St. George, Utah-based regional carrier, at the Network USA 2013 forum in San Antonio on 4 March.

Regional aircraft can have up to 76 seats under most pilot agreements with mainline carriers in the USA.

SkyWest finalised an order for 100 MRJ90s with 100 options this past December. The aircraft are designed to seat about 90 passengers.

Thompson says that the airline could convert some of its order to the smaller MRJ70 if it needed too.

SkyWest will finalise the configuration and other details of its MRJ order after it signs a capacity purchase agreement with a mainline carrier, he says.

The availability of the MRJ by 2017 is one reason that SkyWest selected the aircraft over, for example, the second generation Embraer E-Jet, says Thompson when asked about the decision. He adds that the airline "went with best product for our major [airline] partners".

"The MRJ is the next leap of airplanes," he says.

Mitsubishi has said that it will deliver the first MRJ to SkyWest in 2017.

Embraer plans to introduce a re-engined E-Jet with new wings and fly-by-wire avionics in 2018.