Suspended since 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the SpaceJet regional jet program still causes substantial damage to Mitsubishi Aircraft.
According to the financial result of the 2022 fiscal year, the Japanese manufacturer recorded a new deficit of 8.7 billion yen (about R$ 63.5 million).
It’s a much smaller amount than the 2021 loss, which reached about $665 million, but it shows that the aircraft that would be a tough rival for Embraer’s E-Jets has been a great regret for the company.
Officially, Mitsubishi only says that the SpaceJet is on hold, but some events indicate that the program has very little chance of being resumed. One of them is the dismantling of one of the five prototypes, which lost its Japanese registration.
Another sign was the closure of the Moses Lake test base in March. The location in the United States is known for housing several Boeing prototypes and recently the Alice electric plane.
The MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet) program was announced in 2007 with the aim of repositioning Japan in the commercial aviation segment.
With a very modern design and a capacity of between 70 and 96 passengers, the MRJ90 and MRJ70 regional jets should compete with Embraer’s E-Jets, which have been extremely successful since the 2000s.
However, the development of the aircraft took longer than expected. Instead of entering service in 2013, the Japanese regional jet flew for the first time only in November 2015.
In 2019, Mitsubishi renamed the program SpaceJet and swapped the MRJ70 for the SpaceJet M100 model, which was intended to meet the scope clauses of US regional airlines.
The Covid-19 pandemic and consequently the high cost of the program motivated Mitsubishi to suspend work at the end of 2020.