Mitsubishi Aircraft has spoken to launch customer All Nippon Airways of a “risk of delay” for the delivery of its first MRJ regional jet, but stressed that no decision has been made to change its delivery schedule at present.
In response to queries from FlightGlobal, the Japanese manufacturer says it has spoken to its partners of a risk of delay of the MRJ90 due to “technical reasons”, but says it will refrain from “commenting on the detailed technical aspects”.
“When issues arise in the development process, we take appropriate steps, including informing and consulting with the authorities and customers. If any decisions are made in the future on important items to be made public including development schedule, we will announce them promptly,” adds Mitsubishi in a statement.
“At present, no decision has been made to change the delivery schedule."
Mitsubishi was responding to a Nikkei report that the first delivery of the MRJ90 will be pushed beyond the current target of mid-2018, due to design changes on the aircraft. The report attributed the delay to a need to rebalance the jet after apparently repositioning certain components.
On 29 September, the first MRJ flight test prototype landed in the US after a 8,300km journey. Mitsubishi says it intends to ferry three other flight test aircraft to its Moses Lake flight test centre by the end of 2016.
“As we expect various issues may arise in the future, we will accelerate flight tests in the US towards the successful development of a world-class regional jetliner,” it adds.
The airframer is targeting to achieve certification for the aircraft in early 2018, before delivering the first jet to ANA in the middle of the year. Its original plan to ferry its first flight test aircraft to the US by August was however pushed back a month, after it was forced to abort the mission twice due to anomalies with a sensor in the aircraft’s air monitoring system.
Last December, Mitsubishi pushed back initial delivery of the MRJ90 by a year to mid-2018, relinquishing its one year advantage to entry-into-service over the rival Embraer190-E2.