Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) announced today (30) that the budget for its new aircraft, the SpaceJet, will be further reduced. Much of the activity will cease while the company is considering “a possible restart of the program”.
What is halted are activities related to the development of the baseline, the 90-seat M90 variant. It is worth noting that Mitsubishi itself had already stopped developing the M100 version with 75 seats and was targeting one of the main markets in the world, US regional aviation.
However, Mitsubishi will continue the certification certification efforts without performing certification flights.
“We will work to review our position, make improvements and evaluate a possible restart of the program,” added the company.
The Mitsubishi Group will transfer SpaceJet’s investment to other areas of new growth such as mobility and logistics.
MHI also announced that from AF2021 it will expand the MRO division and guarantee synergies in several units of its commercial flight systems division.
MHI also said it will cut its workforce in its commercial aviation business in half by 2022 as it introduces automation to cut costs. He gave no further details.
Photo: Mitsubishi Aircraft
The development of all variants of the SpaceJet family was already behind schedule and with these Mitsubishi decisions the certification program for these aircraft should be delayed again.
MHI said the effects of the coronavirus, which hit the company in March and April, forced it to suspend type certification test flights at its plant in Moses Lake, USA.
The first flight of an M90 prototype suitable for certification with all updates had to be delayed as a result of the outbreak.
It used to be that the first delivery of an M90 aircraft to All Nippon Airways was scheduled for mid-2021, but that deadline seems increasingly impossible to meet. It is worth mentioning that MHI has already postponed the first delivery of the M90 several times.
The M90 is a direct competitor of Embraer’s new E175-E2, which will soon be certified.
There are currently around 163 orders for the regional aircraft, which can support up to 100 passengers on board, as well as a further 124 purchase options. The project is seen as a great triumph for Japan’s return to the commercial aircraft market.