Mitsubishi Aircraft confirmed on Thursday the name change of its MRJ regional jet program. From now on the airplanes are called SpaceJet and have gained a new designation.
The MRJ90, which is in the homologation campaign, is now called the M90, while the MRJ70, a variant of smaller capacity, was given the designation M100.
“The Mitsubishi SpaceJet family represents our plan to redefine the business of regional air travel,” said Hisakazu Mizutani, President, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation. “This is a commercial segment where we see great opportunity. As we prepare for entry-into-service for the SpaceJet M90, we are also announcing the SpaceJet M100 – the result of our research and development over the past few years and the answer to the regional market’s current and future needs. ”
The manufacturer revealed that it will show a mockup of the M100 at the Paris Air Show starting on the 17th. According to the company, after several studies the new airplane will be better than the original MRJ70 and able to serve both the world market and the US. It may carry 88 passengers in single class or between 65-76 seats in three class layout, indicated to meet the scope clause required by the American Pilots’ unions.
The company, however, did not disclose aircraft specifications confirming that it could operate at a maximum takeoff weight of 86,000lb, limit to comply with the clause.
Mitsubishi underscores the qualities of the SpaceJet family as “the most spacious and comfortable cabin in its class to drive improved passenger experience, designed to boost passenger passenger loyalty. The aircraft targets double-digit performance improvement, and has the lowest operating costs of any aircraft in its class. The aircraft features the widest and tallest cabin in its class, the roomiest economy seat and the most overhead bin capacity – one roller bag per passenger, eliminating the need for gate-check. Its cabin will feature the latest technologies and amenities, both improving passenger experience and creating more opportunity for ancillary revenue generation for airlines,” says the company’s press release.
Despite the goal of certifying the now-called SpaceJet M90, Mitsubishi is having the extremely late development program. In addition, although the jet has a large order book, the largest customer is Skywest regional airline. The company, which also has a request for the rival E175-E2, depends on the change in the scope clause to use both the M90 and the Embraer aircraft.
But, contrary to the Brazilian manufacturer, Mitsubishi could convert these orders to the new M100 if it really has been redesigned to the limit of 86,000lb.
Following the announcement of the name change, Mitsubishi may remain in the limelight if the purchase of Bombardier’s CRJ program is in fact confirmed at Le Bourget next week.