Assembly work of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) started today, with riveting work commencing at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).

MHI started riveting work on the frame structure around the emergency escape hatch for crew in the aircraft's cockpit roof, says Mitsubishi Aircraft.

"Today's start of assembly work indicates that the MRJ project to develop Japan's first passenger jet is progressing steadily and firmly as scheduled," it adds. The MRJ is scheduled to make its first flight in the second quarter of 2012, with first delivery to launch customer All Nippon Airways in the first quarter of 2014.

Production of individual aircraft parts of the MRJ began last autumn.

MHI, which is responsible for manufacturing major parts of the MRJ including the fuselage, wings and empennage, will also take charge of the aircraft's final assembly.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news