Mitsubishi ready to join MRJ fuselage and wing

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Mitsubishi Aircraft is ready to join the fuselage and wing on the first MRJ flight test vehicle, says director and head of marketing Hideyuki Kamiya.

Both the fuselage and wings have been delivered to the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' (MHI) Komaki South Plant in Nagoya for final assembly, he says at the Regional Airlines Association (RAA) annual convention in St. Louis today.

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Mitsubishi Aircraft

The Pratt & Whitney PW1200G geared turbofan engines will be delivered to the facility in the “coming weeks”, says Kamiya.

The engines were originally scheduled for delivery in April but were delayed “due to the change of delivery schedule for equipment agreed between our company and the partners”, according to Mitsubishi.

Kamiya reiterates the airframer’s position that the late engine delivery will not delay first flight or delivery.

Mitsubishi shied away from commenting on when its two customers in the USA – SkyWest Inc and Trans States Airlines – will receive their first MRJs.

The first delivery to a US customer will occur “soon” after delivery of the first MRJ to All Nippon Airways (ANA) in the second quarter of 2017, says the airframer. It declines to comment further on when.

Jerry Atkins, chief executive of Utah-based SkyWest, told Flightglobal in November 2013 that the airline does not expect its first MRJ until late 2018 based on the 18-month delay that Mitsubishi announced in 2013. The delivery timetable was not firm and could still change, he added.

“The folks at Mitsubishi have to deliver the airplane that’s advertised and they need to do it in a timeframe that makes sense for us,” said Brad Rich, president of SkyWest, the same month. “If that doesn’t happen, we have no financial obligations or commitments to take the type.”

SkyWest has a firm order for 100 MRJ90s and options for another 100 aircraft. However, these could be converted to the smaller MRJ70.

Trans States maintains its support for the aircraft.

“The MRJ represents what regional operators are demanding and passengers are expecting – game-changing fuel efficiency and cabin comfort far beyond any regional jet flying today or in the future,” says Richard Leach, president of Trans States, in a statement released today. “The MRJ is taking shape on the factory floor now.”