RAA 2011: Mitsubishi admits feeling pressure for 100-seater

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Mitsubishi is acknowledging growing pressure to make a commitment to producing a 100-seat jet to join its MRJ90 and MRJ70 family of aircraft.

Asked by ATI and Flightglobal during the RAA annual convention in Nashville, Tennessee if the company would accelerate development of larger aircraft, Mitsubishi Aircraft executive vice-president Junichi Miyakawa stated: "We do have a lot of pressure [over the 100-seater]. European customers like the MRJ100X."

Miyakawa also acknowledged the "famous guy" recently making comments about Mitsubishi needing to produce a 100-seat aircraft to become a viable airframe competitor. He was referring to an assessment given by Air Lease CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy during the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading conference in March of this year. Miyakawa said he welcomed Hazy's comments.

Mitsubishi is talking to several potential customers about the MRJ100X but Miyakawa stated adding one more type of aircraft to the current offerings is a "big decision" requiring board authorisation.

However, he stressed he would do his best to make a 100-seat offering happen. "We need that."

Miyakawa estimated 90% commonality between the MRJ70/90 and the MRJ100X.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries began assembly work on the MRJ90 in April ahead of first flight next year. First delivery to All Nippon Airways is scheduled for 2014.