The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) will have its debut flying program at the Farnborough Air Show in July some two years before its projected entry-into-service.
During its lifespan, Japan’s first foray into commercial aircraft manufacturing in decades has endured a series of challenges. These have included entry-into-service delays, with the first delivery of the 70-90-seat aircraft originally scheduled for 2017 shelved.
This was followed by technical woes including the in-flight engine failure of its PW1200G engine during a test flight in August 2017 leading to the temporary grounding of the test fleet.
Nevertheless, orders and options for both the MRJ70 and MRJ90 variants are comfortably north of 400 units, with commitments both domestically from All Nippon Airways and the U.S. in the form of SkyWest among others. With this, the foundations of an MRO network have also started to form.
In July 2016, the aircraft’s manufacturer Mitsubishi Aircraft unveiled the three initial aftermarket partners for the program. Letters of intent were signed with Pemco and HAECO Americas in the U.S., and with ANA-subsidiary MRO Japan in its home country.
The providers were selected based on sales of the MRJ to date on the basis they will be recommended to Mitsubishi’s customers as preferred support shops.
Pastor Lopez, general manager at PEMCO World Air Services, told MRO-Network.com last year that he foresees a lot of potential in the MRJ aftermarket. "The aircraft, without a doubt, will gain a foothold in the USA," he says.
At the end of 2017, mindful of the mid-2020 EIS deadline, it also restructured the program’s engineering division from four departments to five with the addition of an avionics department.
Aviation Week’s Fleet & Forecast data estimates a $690.5 million aftermarket value for the MRJ between now and 2027, with nearly half of its overall value ($333 million) generated by components maintenance. Following this is line maintenance work, which will account for 43% of projected work over the next 10 years.
With the aircraft set for a global showcase at Farnborough and with the projected entry-into-service date drawing closer, Mitsubishi Aircraft has previously stated that it will add further maintenance providers to the program in the run-up to its commercial debut.