(Ekonomisuto: January 26, 2016 – p. 17)
Mitsubishi Aircraft has decided to delay the first delivery of its smaller passenger jet, Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), to mid-2018, from the initial plan of April – June in 2017. One reason was the change in its test-flight plan. Despite having insufficient experience in aircraft R&D, it had long adhered to domestic development solely to achieve the MRJ’s first maiden flight in Japan—a policy focus that has forced it to put off delivery.
Mitsubishi Aircraft bases its aircraft development in Japan, but receives technological assistance from the U.S., home to the global aircraft industry. Senior Executive Vice President Nobuo Kishi explained that the company newly added a ground flight test based on suggestions from experts in the U.S. but said in the same breath, “We had acknowledged technological challenges before the MRJ made its maiden flight.” The executive’s comment suggests that Mitsubishi put off dealing with the problems as a result of prioritizing achievement of MRJ’s first maiden flight in November after it was postponed five times.
The company initially aimed to make its first MRJ delivery in 2013, but the latest change in the delivery schedule lengthens the development phase to 10 years since the start of the project in 2008. Together with the delivery postponement, the company has decided to transfer the key development of the aircraft to the U.S. by equipping its experimental site there with functions for aircraft body design. (Abridged)