Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) may soon start offering finance to customers of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) as it expands its aircraft financing business and the type gains more popularity.

Speaking to Flightglobal in a recent interview, DBJ’s head of global aviation Masao Masuda says that while the aircraft needs to reach “critical mass” he is positive it will be a success.

“The good news is that Mitsubishi Aircraft recently announced new orders from Japan Airlines and a couple more non-Japanese airlines,” he says. “With more new customers,it is more likely that DBJ will feel comfortable – not only DBJ but other lenders also – will feel more comfortable about financing MRJ aircraft.”

While DBJ has been in aviation financing for some years now, it has traditionally focused on credit risk rather than asset risk. Masuda says that it has recently made the decision to expand into asset-based, non-recourse lending, and hopes to have the platform and approvals to do so in place before the end of the year.

Given its “disciplined” lending criteria, the bank will focus initially on financing highly liquid aircraft, such as Boeing 737NGs and Airbus A320s rather than new or niche types.

"I hope MRJ will reach critical mass in the very near future. Then DBJ I hope will be able to consider commercial transactions on MRJ aircraft," Masuda adds.

Mitsubishi Aircraft has said previously that it intends to work closely with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation to offer export credit to support overseas sales of the MRJ.

The MRJ has received export orders from Eastern Air Lines, Air Mandalay, SkyWest Airlines and Trans States Holdings. All Nippon Airways also has firm orders for 15 MRJ90s, while Japan Airlines has signed a letter of intent to order 32.

Source: Cirium Dashboard