Posted on: 12 February 2014 by Mark Howells
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MITAC) has completed the joining of the first MRJ test aircraft’s fuselage as it moves towards roll-out in just over a year’s time.
Yugo Fukuhara, director, head of sales, MITAC, confirmed that the first flight would occur in 2Q15, the start of a test programme involving seven test aircraft in total, five of which will be used in flight testing.
The second airframe will be used in static tests, with the company’s facility for those tests already prepared and waiting.
After first half of flight test programme, three aircraft will be dispatched to the US for further test. Hitoshi ‘Hank’ Iwasa, VP corporate planning & business strategy, reported that Moses Lake, WA, would be one of the test sites, “because the weather is very good which will help us to accumulate flight test hours rapidly. Also in the US, we will do hot-and-high, icing and special runway version testing.”
Still with its three blue-chip customers – ANA, Trans States Holdings and SkyWest Inc – Fukuhara said that MITAC is focussing on expanding that customer base, especially in Asia, which is growing rapidly. “It’s a very important market for us,” he declared.
The market is also enquiring about an MRJ100X, Fukuhara noted, but no launch date has been decided. “We will make a decision in time to meet customers’ requirements,” he stated.
The time from launch of the third family member to EIS will depend on level of commonality, Iwasa interjected, noting that one area which will be common is the engine, whcih will be the same as the MRJ90.
Questioned about the MRJ’s new schedule and being able to assure customers that there will be no further delays, Iwasa remarked, “We are very confident in meeting our new targets.”
With regards to the market for the current models, Iwasa said he expects around a 2-to-1 split in favour of the MRJ90 over the MRJ70. “Much depends on the US scope clauses,” he added. “For the potential MRJ100X, we are seeing very strong demand in Europe and South America.”
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net