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ANA studies Mitsubishi Regional Jet

All Nippon Airways, a key target of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to be a launch customer for its proposed MRJ, confirms that it is evaluating the new regional jet.

The Japanese manufacturer announced in October that it had begun formally offering its 70- to 90-seat MRJ to customers with a view to formally launching the programme early in 2008. The twinjet would be powered by Pratt & Whitney's GTF geared turbofan.

ANA confirms that it is studying the twinjet but indicates than the evaluation is at an early stage. "We're looking at it, but it's a blank sheet as yet as we are not at the stage to decide numbers or even whether we will buy it," says the airline.

ANA has long been seen as a key potential customer for the MRJ and Japanese media reported last week that ANA and its associated airlines were considering ordering around 30 aircraft. Rival Japan Airlines is viewed as a tougher sell as it ordered up to 15 Embraer 170s last year.

MHI recently selected Rockwell Collins to provide primary flight control computers, pilot controls and the horizontal stabiliser trim system for the MRJ. Collins had previously been selected to provide its Pro Line Fusion avionics, and to serve as the MRJ programme's avionics system integrator. Meanwhile, Hamilton Sundstrand is providing the MRJ electric system (including emergency power) fire detection and suppression system air management system auxiliary power unit and the flap/slat actuation system.

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