Mitsubishi Pulls Back SpaceJet Program


Mitsubishi is set to close two of its U.S. facilities supporting the SpaceJet regional-jet program. Its American headquarters in Renton, Washington, and a design office in Quebec will close, though the flight-test facility at Moses Lake, Washington, is to remain open for now. Nevertheless, it’s expected that U.S. flight tests will cease and continued flight testing will take place in Japan for the foreseeable future. Mitsubishi previously announced that it was cutting its SpaceJet budget in half for the remainder of the year amid steep financial losses for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as a whole.

It’s not clear if this is the end for the beleaguered SpaceJet, which has been in development since 2007. In the U.S., nearly 3,100 airliners are “idled,” which represents half the fleet. The economic realities facing both mainline and regional airlines is grim, and demand for travel is not expected to rebound quickly. 

As we previously reported, the SpaceJet, renamed from the MRJ (for Mitsubishi Regional Jet), is the first airliner to be completely designed and built in Japan since the NAMC YS-11, which stopped production in 1974. Powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1217G engines, the jet is expected to have a maximum range of approximately 2,000 NM. It will be completed in a new facility in Nagoya, Japan. 

Marc Cook
KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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