Posted on: 18 October 2014
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MITAC) has celebrated the roll-out of the first MRJ90 in a ceremony at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Komaki South Plant in Nagoya, Japan.
The ceremony was kept simple, but delightful, with the aircraft itself being, rightly, the star of the show. After local children introduced the event with a specially written song, Hideaki Omiya, chairman of the Board of MHI addressed the assembled guests and dignitaries.
Following his brief remarks, drummers provided the aural backdrop as the hangar doors were opened and, led by a host of the programme’s workforce, the aircraft was wheeled in and parked just in front of the leaders of the airlines which have made commitments to operate the aircraft (see banner above the aircraft on the heading photo), as well as many executives from prospective customers.
Dreams alone cannot run businesses,” Omiya commented on having the finished article. “This aircraft will fly to every corner of the world. And I’m proud to send it out there.”
Rick Leach, president and COO of Trans States Holdings (left with wife Mary) which has orders for 50 plus 50 options, noted that 10 years have passed since current sales director, Yugo Fukuhara, called and asked if he (Leach) would discuss an aircraft that MHI was planning. “So we talked and they listened. And each time they came back for more discussions we could see that they had incorporated some of our ideas,” he recalled.
“So to see the aircraft today, something we have grown with and looking as it does, is sensational,” Leach added.
Leach’s words reflected those given earlier in the day by Nobuo Kishi, chief engineer and head of engineering division, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MITAC), at a pre-ceremony briefing. He described how MHI had started initial studies and discussions in 2003 and had begun with a 30-seat jet in mind, but after listening to airlines, planned capacity rose to 50 and then 70-90 seats as that was where the market demand was.
With production still around two-and-a-half years away, Akihiko Ishikawa, general manager MRJ programme department, commercial aviation & transport systems, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), reported that the production line will be a moving line, but is still in its trial stage.
MHI chairman Omiya added that the aim is to get to 10 aircraft a month, but he refrained from giving any time scale to reach that figure.
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net