JAPAN IS LOOKING at co-operating with other Asian countries to develop a small, low-cost regional aircraft, as a possible alternative to earlier plans to develop a larger 90- to 110-seat twinjet.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) says that it is seeking finance-ministry funding in fiscal year 1997/8 to launch a new study. The feasibility study is likely to be led by Japan Aircraft Development (JADC), which has been conducting a joint MITI/industry-funded YS-X study into the development of a 90- to 110-seat aircraft, in possible collaboration with Boeing.

Studies to date indicate that this aircraft is not financially viable, and development has been shelved.

Attention has since turned to a smaller 70- to 90-seat regional jet, with JADC discussing a joint feasibility study with Bombardier. The new aircraft is seen as a good second platform for Mitsubishi's new supercritical wing, developed for Bombardier's Global Express (Flight International, 19-25 June). The new study being proposed by MITI would be aimed at identifying other potential partners in Asia and the type of aircraft required by the region's air-transport market. It is unclear, though, which countries would be interested in the project.

China, Singapore and Indonesia are already tied to various other aircraft programmes.

Source: Flight International