This week has seen a big development in the regional air travel sector as Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has officially announced its Mitsubishi SpaceJet family of aircraft. SpaceJet is the commercial name for the SpaceJet M90 (previously known by the developmental designation of MRJ90) and a new member of the Mitsubishi family, the larger SpaceJet M100. There is already a strong order book for the aircraft, with airline orders including All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan Airlines (JAL), Eastern Airlines, SkyWest and Air Mandala.
“The Mitsubishi SpaceJet family represents our plan to redefine the business of regional air travel,” said Hisakazu Mizutani, president of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation. “This is a commercial segment where we see great opportunity. As we prepare for entry-into-service for the SpaceJet M90, we are also announcing the SpaceJet M100 – the result of our research and development during the past few years and the answer to the regional market’s current and future needs. These products mark our dedication to a segment in desperate need of change that will allow airlines to enhance the satisfaction of their passengers and significantly improve their business performance.”
Mitsubishi claims that the SpaceJet M100 offers “the most spacious and comfortable cabin in its class”, designed to boost airline passenger loyalty through a superior experience. Further claims include the model having the lowest operating costs of any aircraft in its class, the widest and tallest cabin in its class, the roomiest economy seat and the most overhead bin capacity– one roller bag per passenger, eliminating the need for gate-check. The cabin will feature technologies and amenities designed to improve the passenger experience and create more opportunity for ancillary revenue generation for airlines.
Mitsubishi Aircraft has not confirmed the economy seat model in question, but its MRJ mockups were fitted with the ‘Slim Seat’ from Delta Kogyo, clad in a special 0.25in-thick net fabric.
For customers in the US market, the SpaceJet M100 is optimised to be scope clause compliant in the 65-76 seat, three-class cabin configuration. It can also be flexibly configured for other global market needs, with up to 88 seats in a single class.
In preparation for beginning deliveries of the SpaceJet M90 in 2020, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation reports that it has matured its commercial aircraft capabilities during the past several years. The company has worked closely with governmental partners to establish a certification system for Japan and has begun type certification flight testing in Moses Lake, Washington, USA with both the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In preparation for the future, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has continued to grow key functions including customer support, sales, marketing and new product development, and on 10 May this year, the company opened a new US headquarters in Renton, Washington.
“The regional market is an attractive one, full of untapped growth potential,” said Alex Bellamy, chief development officer at Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation. “Millions of people around the world rely on regional air travel to get to where they need to go. There is no reason that their experience as passengers should not be as good as or better than on a mainline flight. The SpaceJet family provides the missing link in a kerb-to-kerb experience for the next generation of travellers, while bringing a higher level of value to a neglected and undervalued market segment.”
The company will debut the SpaceJet M100 cabin interior at Paris Airshow, from 17-20 June 17, 2019. Attendees can visit Pavilion B6 to see the cabin mockup on a first-come-first-served basis on Tuesday 18 June through to Thursday 20 June. Formal launch of the SpaceJet M100 program is expected later this year.