Switzerland-based aviation and defence firm RUAG is to manufacture the aft fuselage for Bombardier CRJ700/900 regional jets after Mitsubishi Heavy Industries confirmed it will end regional aircraft subassembly production for the Canadian airframer to focus on more work for Boeing.
RUAG was among the companies that purchased Fairchild Dornier assets when the company was broken up and auctioned five years ago. It plans to restart production of the Dornier 228 twin-turboprop at the former Fairchild Dornier facility at Oberpfaffenhofen in Germany.
Manufacture of aft fuselages for Bombardier regional jets would be conducted at the RUAG facility starting in December 2009, says Bombardier.
Bombardier has been moving large parts of its major subassembly work away from Mitsubishi, and transferring it either to its plant in Mexico or to China's Shenyang Aircraft (SAC), a unit of China Aviation Industry I.
Mitsubishi participated in joint development of the Q400 turboprop with a workshare including the wing, centre and aft fuselage, and vertical and horizontal tail among other things. In July 2006 SAC concluded a new supplier deal with Bombardier covering Q400 fuselages starting this year.
The target "for complete transfer of the Q400 mid-fuselage to SAC is also December 2009", says Bombardier.
Mitsubishi says it wants to focus on work for Boeing, and in particular the 787, for which it makes the wing box. The company insists the move is unrelated to its plan to build the 70- to 90-seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet.
Bombardier says it was "totally aware" of Mitsubishi's capacity issues, and adds the Japanese company will continue to manufacture assemblies for the Canadian firm's Global Express and Challenger 300 business jets.