Maintenance and support for CRJ series aircraft appears to have been a key factor behind Mitsubishi’s Heavy Industries acquisition of the aircraft program from Bombardier.
Under the long-heralded deal, Mitsubishi will pay $550 million from the regional jet program and assume about $200 million of debt.
For that, it receives the CRJ type certificates as well as the related services and support network located in Montreal, Quebec, and Toronto, and its service centers located in West Virginia, and Arizona.
Mitsubishi hopes the CRJ’s aftermarket network will boost its SpaceJet (formerly MRJ) program by enhancing its support capabilities.
This might seem prudent given the collapse in confidence in rival aircraft the Superjet due to terrible customer support, although it is unclear how far similar concerns have contributed to the poor sales thus far of Mitusbishi’s own regional jets.
“This transaction represents one of the most important steps in our strategic journey to build a strong, global aviation capability,” said Seiji Izumisawa, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, adding: “It augments these efforts by securing a world-class and complementary set of aviation-related functions including maintenance, repair and overhaul, engineering and customer support.”
Indeed, so focused is Mitsubishi on boosting its aftermarket capabilities that production of the remaining CRJ backlog mwill rest with Bombardier in Mirabel, Quebec, where the aircraft line’s former owner will assemble aircraft on behalf of the Japanese company.
In addition, Bombardier will continue to supply components and spare parts.
CRJ production is expected to conclude in the second half of 2020, which almost certainly means that the recently announced CRJ550 program is dead.
Instead, Bombardier will now focus on its business jet and rail businesses, having sold all three prongs of its commercial aircraft business – the CSeries, Q400 and CRJ families – in the last few years.