Mitsubishi Aircraft has announced at the Singapore Airshow, that it will need to calculate the extent a rescheduling of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet program could affect the timing of the aircraft’s first flight, which is officially still scheduled to occur later this year. The company confirmed the delay, but would not offer any details about the reasons behind it.
Apparently there are concerns among Mitsubishi Aircraft executives about the program’s progress, but it was made clear that Pratt & Whitney’s PW1217G engines that power the aircraft do not account for the delay.
The MRJ90 program has firm orders from All Nippon Airways for 15 aircraft, Trans States Airlines for 50 aircraft and ANI Group Holdings has signed an agreement for five aircraft. ANI has also indicated that they will order twenty 100-seat MRJ100X aircraft if Mitsubishi later chooses to launch that project.
Mitsubishi is examining the market for the 100-seat MRJ100X, but no decision on the program is expected until after the first flight of the MRJ90.
The flight test program for the MRJ program is expected to be roughly one and a half years in length. It is possible that there may be some margin in what is seen as a conservative flight test program and that might help to mitigate the anticipated delay.
Mitsubishi plans to use five MRJ90 flight test airplanes, a ground test airplane and a static test example in the test program. They are expected to be followed by two flight test articles for the 78-seat MRJ70 aircraft, which is scheduled for certification roughly a year after the MRJ90 aircraft.