Mitsubishi Aircraft announced today the signing of an agreement in principal with SkyWest Airlines. The deal provides for the airline to purchase 100 Mitsubishi Regional Jets (MRJ), deliveries of which are planned to begin in 2017 and conclude by the end of 2020. A firm agreement is expected according to reports within the next several weeks.
SkyWest’s 100-aircraft tentative order for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet is for the MRJ90, the larger of the two versions Skywest also has the option to convert all or part of the order to the smaller MRJ70 as well.
This sale, valued at $4.2 billion at list prices, means that Mitsubishi’s orders and commitments for the MRJ program have increased to 230 airframes.
SkyWest is currently the largest operator of Bombardier regional jets in the world and this agreement is seen as a set back for Bombardier’s CSeries program.
The MRJ is scheduled to make its first flight in late 2013. Mitsubishi has been working to reassure potential customers about the plane after a one-year delay and is targeting airlines in North America and Asia as sales in Europe decline.
Utah-based SkyWest is a holding company for SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines and operates as United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines and US Airways. It operates a fleet of 725 regional aircraft.