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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Mitsubishi says on track to deliver long-delayed commercial jets by 2020

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet aircraft has been delayed five times from an original delivery target of 2013

The Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi also manufactures a twin-engine regional jet aircraft that can seat up to 70–90 passengers. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
The Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi also manufactures a twin-engine regional jet aircraft that can seat up to 70–90 passengers. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is on track to deliver its repeatedly delayed commercial jet by mid-2020, the head of its aircraft unit said, despite a risk of an order cancellation.

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) aircraft has been delayed five times from an original delivery target of 2013, leading to spiralling costs. News this month that an order for the aircraft from Eastern Air Lines was “likely to be lost” has spurred more questions about the outlook of the project.

“We are proceeding pretty much in line with plans,” said Hisakazu Mizutani, president of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp, referring to the mid-2020 deadline. “We can just about make it.”

He was speaking to reporters in Nagoya on December 8, on the condition that his comments not be published until January 1.

Mizutani said the planemaker was at risk of losing Eastern Air Lines’ order for 20 MRJ aircraft with an option for 20 more, but that it was “continuing conversations” with the airline.

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Mitsubishi Aircraft said the order has not yet been cancelled.

Overall, the Mitsubishi unit has orders for 233 of the 90-seat aircraft, the company has said previously, and aims to sell more than 1,000 of the planes over two decades.

Buyers such as ANA Holdings have said they have no plans to cancel orders despite the delays.

Mitsubishi Aircraft is majority owned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, with Toyota Motor Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation also holding stakes.