Mitsubishi heading for the skies with new passenger jets

The Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation recently displayed its fleet of five flight test aircraft in its Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) programme during last week's Regional Airline Association annual convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

Mitsubishi also provided updates on its flight test program at the convention, announcing that it had added four more US sites to its planned flight tests, which includes an engineering centre in Seattle.

Mitsubishi’s first test flight is scheduled for September or October, with the MRJ program set to be delivered during the second quarter of 2017.

Mitsubishi unveiled the MRJ at a rollout ceremony in October, and will be the first airliner designed and produced in Japan since the 1960s.

The twin-engine regional aircraft is being manufactured at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Shipyard & Machinery Works in Kobe (wing assembly), as well as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Aero Engines in Komaki (final assembly of engines).

The aircraft will be prepared for flight and reach final stage of completion near Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation’s head office, which was relocated to the Nagoya Airport Terminal Building.

The headquarters is next to a new assembly plant where the jets final assembly, ground testing and flight tests are performed.

The new plant being constructed will also perform final assembly, outfitting and painting of the new airplanes.

The MRJ program is made up of a range of 70 to 90 seat next-generation regional jets which will offer substantially higher fuel efficiency as well as reductions in noise and emissions.

Mitsubishi said 407 units of the MRJ (223 firm) have been ordered so far, from companies including Japan Airlines and US companies Eastern Airlines and SkyWest.

The MRJ will feature a four-abreast seat configuration, large overhead bins and a slim seat to help increase the comfort of passengers.