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Reports say SpaceJet programme facing fresh delays

First delivery of the Mitsubishi Aircraft SpaceJet M90 may be facing further delay - the programme's sixth so far - according to reports in the Japanese media.

Japanese news service Nikkei, without citing a source, says that the latest round of delays stems from setbacks with development of the aircraft's fuselage, which is slowing type certification.

Nikkei adds that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the airframer's parent company, is pushing for a revision to the delivery schedule. The first SpaceJet M90 was due to be handed over to launch customer All Nippon Airways in mid-2020.

Mitsubishi Aircraft declines to comment, saying only that there “has been no official announcement or comment on our schedule”.

The airframer adds that it has “made tremendous progress” over the past two years and is “in a much stronger position now”.

“We are in a unique position in the market and we will continue to accelerate our activities towards certification,” it says.

Since its launch in 2008, the programme, formerly known as the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), has been plagued by developmental delays.

If confirmed, the latest hiatus would come two years since Mitsubishi Aircraft's last schedule revision, which pushed first delivery back by two years to address problems with certain systems and electrical configurations.

The MRJ was rebranded as the SpaceJet in June this year, as part of a wider programme overhaul that saw the airframer cancel the smaller MRJ70 development to start work on a 76-seat variant known as the SpaceJet M100.

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