Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is close to securing a second firm order for its new regional jet, with the company possibly announcing a deal at the Farnborough Air Show in July.
“We have gone to the USA, Europe and around Asia over the last few months talking to potential customers. We have now come very close to finalising an order with one customer, and we hope to announce it soon if all goes well,” says an official from Mitsubishi Aircraft Co, which will be responsible for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ).
She declined to identify the potential customer, where the airline is from, or how many aircraft could be ordered. MHI, however, has been keen to secure a foreign order to go with launch customer All Nippon Airways, Japan’s second-largest carrier.
A new order will be a significant shot in the arm for the programme, which Japan’s Government has helped fund to get the country back into the passenger aircraft manufacturing business.
The MRJ was launched in March with ANA announcing a firm order for 15 90-seat MRJ90s, with options for 10 more. First deliveries will be in late 2013 or early 2014.
Officials from Mitsubishi Aircraft have held talks with Vietnam Airlines, which is widely seen as a potential customer. An airline official, however, says that nothing has been confirmed.
There has also been speculation that a leasing company could order the MRJ, which will come in the 90-seat and 70-seat versions. Japan Airlines is also evaluating the aircraft, though it may be a harder nut to crack as it operates Bombardier regional jets and has also ordered Embraer aircraft.
MHI will compete with Brazil’s Embraer, Canada’s Bombardier, Russia’s Sukhoi and China’s AVIC I Commercial Aircraft (ACAC) for the global regional aircraft market, which the Japanese company says will require 5,000 aircraft over the next two decades. MHI hopes to win orders for about 1,000 jets in the next 20 years.
It says that its operating profit from its aerospace division may reach ¥80 billion ($739 million) by 2030, up from ¥14.7 billion in the fiscal year to March 31 2008. The MRJ is expected to contribute ¥10-20 billion in profit by 2030, adds MHI.
The company reduced its stake in Mitsubishi Aircraft to 67.5% after selling shares to other Japanese companies. These are Toyota Motor with 10%, Mitsubishi Corp with 10%, Sumitomo Corp with 5%, and Mitsui & Co with 5%. The ownership of the remaining 2.5% has not been revealed.
The MRJ will be powered by the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engine, Rockwell Collins will provide its Pro Line Fusion avionics system, and Hamilton Sundstrand will supply the electric power systems, air management system, auxiliary power unit, inert gas system, high lift actuation system and fire and overheat protection system.
Parker Aerospace will supply the hydraulic systems, Rockwell and Japan’s Nabtesco the flight control system, and Sumitomo Precision the landing gear. MHI is working to finalise a deal with Saab Aerotech to provide product support for the MRJ in Europe and the Americas.
Source: flightlgobal.com's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news