Mesa Airlines Places 100 Mitsubishi SpaceJet Orders

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The Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has announced that Mesa Airlines has placed an order for 100 Mitsubishi SpaceJet aircraft.

Mitsubishi SpaceJet at the Paris Airshow in 2019. Photo: Matti Blume via Wikimedia Commons

Mesa Airlines signs 100 orders in MOU

The regional US-based airline signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation on 5th September 2019. This was announced at a signing event in Nashville at the Regional Airline Association (RAA) annual conference.

The MOU is a legal document outlining the terms of the agreement as formal negotiations have begun for Mesa Airlines’ purchase.

Mesa Airlines signed for 50 firm orders and the purchase rights of a further 50 aircraft, also known as ‘options’, of the SpaceJet M100. This order nearly doubles the current amount of aircraft in its fleet of 145, which include Canadair Regional Jet and Embraer 175s, according to Air Fleets.

If the deal is finalized, the airline will own three of the best jets in regional travel in an order which will cost them $3.74 billion. In a press release about the order, President of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, Mr. Mizutani stated that:

“Mesa Airlines’ selection of the SpaceJet M100 confirms that our aircraft fulfills current and future needs in this industry, and that airlines are ready to move our discussions forward.”

Shifting the aviation paradigm

Earlier this year, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation overhauled its MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet) program and renamed the aircraft to ‘SpaceJet’, which it annouced just ahead of the Paris Air Show this year. It has now stopped developments on its MRJ70 in order to pursue the SpaceJet M100.

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The SpaceJet M100 is the latest aircraft to be produced by the Japanese company. This 76-seater regional carrier, designed specifically for the US market, exists alongside its predecessor; SpaceJet M90.

MRJ before the rebrand. Photo: Grasshopper2015 via Wikimedia Commons

According to its website, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation designed the M100 with “cutting-edge aerodynamics” to make a jet which is efficient on fuel, well-equipped to deal with noise isolation and includes “the most spacious cabin in regional travel”.

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The M100 – coming soon?

However, whilst news of Mesa Airlines’ order is exciting, we’re not holding our breath for a swift delivery.

In fact, what is now known as the SpaceJet, was announced over 12 years ago at the Paris Air Show in 2007. Since then, orders have been coming in but not fulfilled. One of the first was placed by All Nippon Airway who expected delivery of 25 in 2013.

However, the launch date for the aircraft has since been pushed back. Other airlines, such as Japan Airlines and SkyWest are also still waiting on their orders. Delivery for the M100 can be expected to start in half a decade in 2024, according to Aerospace Technology.

Currently, there has been no suggestion as to where the aircraft might fly with Mesa Airlines. It operates around 742 flights each day to most states in the US, flying as American Eagle and United Express via agreements with American and United Airlines.

Mesa Airlines’ route map. Photo: Mesa Airlines

Jonathan Ornstein, Chairman and CEO of Mesa Air Group, the parent group of Mesa Airlines, said the following:

“The U.S. mainline [carriers] are looking for an aircraft that will allow them to provide a consistent, premium passenger experience from their regional to their long-haul fleets…”

Let us know what you think about Mesa Airlines’ SpaceJet order in the comments.

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