The MRJ regional jet programme missed its target of bringing a fourth flight test prototype to Moses Lake by the end of 2016.

Mitsubishi Aircraft tells FlightGlobal that FTA-3 remains in Japan. Asked why the jet did not make the flight to the US last month, it says: “We are judging it depending on both weather and aircraft conditions. This does not mean that there was a big issue on the aircraft.”

The fourth quarter of 2016 was a busy one for Mitsubishi. The Japanese manufacturer flew its first flight test aircraft to its US test facility at Grant County International airport in September after two false starts. It then brought FTA-4 to Moses Lake in November and FTA-2 in December.

Mitsubishi was pushing to bring its test fleet to the US early to accelerate its test programme, and provide a buffer for technical or certification issues that could arise.

The airframer said last month that it is evaluating the MRJ programme’s schedule, and is likely to make an announcement on any possible changes around the end of January.

The comment comes amid speculation that Mitsubishi will announce a fifth delay to the programme, following its admission last October that it has warned launch customer All Nippon Airways of a “risk of delay” of the first MRJ.

The current target is for the first MRJ90 to achieve certification in 2018, and for the aircraft to enter into service by mid-2018.

Source: Cirium Dashboard