is “seriously considering” a 100-seat model and has talked to several potential customers about it, says Junichi Miyakawa, executive vice president of the Nagoya-based manufacturer.
“We do have a lot of pressure,” particularly from European customers, to add an MRJ100X to a product mix that already includes the 70- and 90-seat MRJ70 and MRJ90, Miyakawa said May 17 at the Regional Airline Association (RAA) annual convention here. His company, he added, is “studying so hard” when it will launch the product.
Miyakawa subsequently clarified that a definitive decision has not been made. Adding another aircraft type is a big decision and requires authorization from the company’s board, he noted. But Miyakawa made it clear where his sentiments lie.
“I cannot say ‘definitely’ at this moment,” he said. “But I would say I’m going to do my best to make it happen. We need that.”
The 100-seater would not have quite as much commonality—95%—as the MRJ70 and MRJ90, but would still top 90%, he says.
Mitsubishi’s MRJ90 production, meanwhile, continues to make advances. Assembly work commenced in early April, and the company opened its European office in Amsterdam. The Pratt & Whitney PW1217G engine has been tested at full power and is running smoothly, he says. First flight is still expected next year and the first delivery toin 2014.
The aircraft’s production facilities escaped damage from the earthquakes that devastated parts of Japan, but there still is the potential for some disruption from restrictions in utility company electricity supply because the Japanese government recently decided to close a nuclear power plant near the facility, Miyakawa says. That means there could be some future restrictions on providing the facility with electricity, a great deal of which is needed for the manufacture of the aircraft’s composite tail, but final decisions have not yet been made.