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ECONOMY

Mitsubishi’s idea to produce jets in U.S. shocks Japanese parts suppliers

  • May 29, 2019
  • , Nikkei
  • JMH Summary

Nikkei reported online that the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. is considering developing a new variant of its signature Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), Japan’s first domestically produced passenger jet, saying that the new model may be produced in the U.S. using locally produced components. According to the daily, the subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is planning to develop a 70-seat version of the aircraft as opposed to the 90-seat prototype, in view of a “scope clause” in the contract between major U.S. airlines and their trade unions intended to limit the aircraft that may be flown by the airlines’ regional affiliates to 76 seats. As the proposed reduction in seating capacity is intended to promote MRJs in the U.S., which is the world’s largest aviation market, the company is reportedly mulling producing the new model in the U.S. in view of President Trump’s strong calls for greater Japanese corporate investment there. While noting that MHI President Izumisawa was one of the some 30 Japanese guests at a business dinner held at the Ambassador’s residence over the weekend in honor of President Trump, the article said Japanese parts suppliers are dismayed by Mitsubishi’s plan to tap American suppliers for assembling the new version since the development of the MRJ had been viewed as a “Rising Sun” initiative intended to develop a purely domestically produced passenger plane. The name MRJ may also reportedly be changed to “Space Jet” when the new model is rolled out.  

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