Mitsubishi Jet Successful Flight Marks New Era of Japanese Aircraft Industry

By Money Times

Nov 13, 2015 12:33 AM EST

A successful maiden flight of Japanese jet marks the new era of Japanese aircraft industry. Mitsubishi Regional Jet made its debut on Wednesday in Nagoya Airport, Japan.

Prior to the flight, Japan Times reported the highly anticipated maiden flight of Mitsubishi Regional Jet is to be commenced at Nagoya airport and be broadcasted live online. However, Mitsubishi did not mention the exact take-off time and said "the schedule may change depending on the condition of the aircraft and climate." 

Japan once had respected aircraft industry, and in 1960's NAMC, Japanese company produced the twin-engine YS-11 passenger plane. Unfortunately, the plane did not perform well in the market, and it made YS-11 as the last Japanese-made passenger aircraft. Subsequent to that, Japanese aircraft industry halted its aircraft manufacturing and only produce suplies and parts to major manufacturers like Boeing. Nevertheless, in 2008, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MAC) was established as a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries subsidiary to develop, produce, and maintain sales and support of Mitsubishi jet aircraft. Mitsubishi focused in manufacturing regional jet class, a short to medium range passenger aircraft with 6 hours maximum flight length. 

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as manufacturer of Mitsubishi Regional Jet, goes one step forward in a plan for manufacturing first regional jet. According toReuters, the successful maiden flight marked a major step forward for Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp, a unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, in fulfilling a pledge to deliver the first MRJ in June 2017.  Its first customer is Japan's biggest airline ANA Holdings. Reuters also indicated that Mitsubishi also aims to supplant Canada's Bombardier Inc, as the world's second biggest maker of smaller passenger jetliners. So far, MRJ has secured 223 firm orders from airline operators. The latest order was received in January from Japan Airlines, with 32 planes, while Trans State Holdings placed the biggest single order for 100 aircrafts. The number one biggest maker in regional jet class category is Brazilian's Embraer SA.

Bloomberg specifically mention several things that set MRJ from its competitors: Embraer E175 and Bombardier CRJ900. One of distinctive feature of MRJ is more headroom than competitors, offering more passenger to carry in wider body. Another advantage is in MRJ can reach maximum range of 1,780 nautical miles (3,310 kilometers) and it also a lightweight.

With a successful maiden flight and order from around the world, Mitsubish Regional Jet has taken a major step forward in bringing Japanese aircraft industry to the new era. This debut flight bring them closer to fulfill their pledge to deliver the first aircraft to customer in June 2017.

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