Delayed Again? Mitsubishi May Not Deliver Any SpaceJets In 2020

Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi Aircraft will be further delaying the delivery of its new regional aircraft – the SpaceJet. According to Japanese media outlet NHK, Mitsubishi Aircraft isn’t expecting to get the jet delivered to customers until next year. This marks the sixth delivery delay, with 2013 as the original delivery date.

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Mitsubishi Aircraft hopes its outstanding US orders can all be converted to the M100 SpaceJet variant. Photo: Mitsubishi Aircraft.

Originally called the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the company has been conducting flight tests in the United States to obtain safety certification. According to Airway, at the beginning of January, the newest SpaceJet test aircraft had more than 900 improvements to its design in order to meet the certification requirements of US Federal Aviation Administration.

An eight-year delay

However, sources have recently reported that there are issues with the electronic system. Because of this, a design change is needed, thus holding back the completion of the test aircraft. According to Nikkei Asian Review, the SpaceJet has over a million different parts and Mitsubishi will need to investigate the impact of changes to the aircraft design made over the past few years.

Prior to the news of this latest delay, delivery was scheduled for mid-2020. With this latest delay, the delivery date is now at least eight years past the original 2013 target. As a result, airlines that have placed orders must reconsider their fleet plans.

All Nippon Airways, for example, is set to be the first to take delivery of the SpaceJet. However, it has not included the aircraft in its domestic flight plans for the fiscal year 2020 according to Nikkei Asian Review. To date, Mitsubishi Aircraft has received orders for 400 units. As the delivery date continues to be postponed, the company is discussing possible compensation for the delays with its clients.

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Labor union clauses mean the M90 SpaceJet is too big to fly on US regional routes. This resulted in Trans State Airlines canceling their order of SpaceJet M90s. Photo: Mitsubishi Aircraft.

Delays are normal…

Almost every commercial aircraft program has been delayed at least once, if not numerous times. Below is a list of recent aircraft and the production and entry-into-service delays experienced:

Boeing 787 Dreamliner: The initial plan is for the aircraft to enter commercial service was May 2008. The first Dreamliner was delivered to ANA at the end of September 2011, more than three years behind schedule.

Airbus A350: Originally was scheduled for 2013, the first-ever A350 was delivered to Qatar Airways in December 2014.

Airbus A380: The superjumbo’s original delivery date was March 2006. However, the first A380 was delivered to Singapore Airlines in October 2007.

Airbus A220 (Bombardier CSeries): The first Bombardier CSeries aircraft was delivered to SWISS in June of 2016 – three years after its planned 2013 entry-into-service.

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The SpaceJet is now eight years delayed with its entry into service. Photo: Mitsubishi

Conclusion

Even though delays may be ‘par for the course’ for commercial aircraft programs, Mitsubishi Aircraft’s SpaceJet program looks far worse than ‘normal’ with its seven to eight-year delay. Hopefully, it won’t be pushed back even further…

Do you think the SpaceJet will be successful and popular once it finally enters service? Let us know what you think in the comments.

A request for comment was sent to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. However, no response was received at the time of publishing the article.

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