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​MRJ locks down first lessor order with Aerolease agreement

Miami-based Aerolease Aviation has firmed an order for 10 Mitsubishi Aircraft MRJ90 regional jets and options for 10 more.

The Japanese airframer says a “definitive” agreement has been signed. A letter of intent for the acquisition was originally announced at the Singapore Air Show in February.

Deliveries are to commence in 2018.

“We are pleased to become the world’s first aircraft leasing company to conclude a definitive agreement for the purchase of the MRJ,” says Jep Thornton, partner at Aerolease Aviation.

“Aerolease is committed to cooperate with Mitsubishi Aircraft as an MRJ partner to expand its global customer base and to help enhance the asset value of the MRJ.”

The deal brings the MRJ commitment book to 427 aircraft: 233 firm orders, 170 options, and 24 purchase rights.

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Mitsubishi Aircraft

Mitsubishi Aircraft adds that 20 aircraft will be added when a definitive agreement is signed with Swedish lessor Rockton. At June’s Farnborough air show, Rockton signed a letter of intent covering a firm order for 10 MRJ90s and options for 10.

The Aerolease news comes after a difficult weekend for the MRJ programme, which had to abort two attempts to fly to the US over the weekend.

Mitsubishi says the aircraft, FTA-1, had an issue with its air management system, prompting the turn back.

The airframer has been working towards an August timeline to bring FTA-1 to the US, so as to accelerate its flight-test programme and provide a buffer for technical or certification issues that could arise. The original schedule was for a ferry flight in the fourth quarter of the year.

Mitsubishi plans to bring four of its flight test aircraft to the US within 2016. It is targeting certification of the MRJ in early 2018, and to deliver the aircraft to launch customer All Nippon Airways in the middle of the year.

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