Mitsubishi is anticipating picking up at least half of a market for 500 70-seat jets in Latin America over the next 20 years as it moves towards its 2018 delivery target for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet.

Although the Japanese airframer will not be displaying either the aircraft or the cabin mock-up at FIDAE, it says it will be updating potential operators on the certification schedule following the MRJ’s first flight in November last year.

“Our customers already know the mock-up. They want to understand how the programme is progressing,” says Philip de St Aubin, head of Latin America sales. “Our message will be that the airplane has flown and we are making good progress.”

De St Aubin maintains that Latin America’s changing aviation landscape will create openings for regional aircraft. “The key aircraft type in this region has always been the narrowbody, providing traffic between major cities. But the market that needs to be developed, where there is pent-up demand, is between small to medium size cities,” he says.

“We are the only [manufacturer] with a new-technology 70-seater, and as airlines look to replace 50-seaters, we are in prime position,” he adds. “We don’t expect orders this year, but towards the 2017 to 2019 timeframe we will start to see decisions being made for deliveries in 2020 and beyond.”

Mitsubishi is aiming to ferry its first flight test aircraft, FTA-1, to the USA for a flight test campaign there around the middle of this year. A second flight test aircraft is due to make its maiden flight in May with a third, fourth and fifth following within two months of each other.

The airframer plans a 2,500h flight test programme. Its orderbook stands at 407 and it is targeting a total of 1,000 sales.

Source: Flight Daily News