On Friday, Mitsubishi and Aerolease issued a joint statement announcing the cancellation of an order for ten SpaceJet aircraft. The move leaves the Japanese aircraft corporation with orders for 207 of its regional jet and comes a few months following the program’s indefinite postponement.
Ten firm orders gone following program’s pause
The Florida-based aircraft lessor signed a firm order for ten of the aircraft in 2016, with options for an additional ten. However, as Mitsubishi announced in October 2020 that it would be pausing the program for an indefinite time, Aerolease has now elected to cancel its order for the SpaceJet.
The contract was formally ended on December 31st, 2020. It was announced this morning, December 8th, in a mutual statement by the two companies. The parties both said they had intentions of revisiting a deal further down the line.
“Aerolease has been a strong advocate of Mitsubishi Aircraft’s efforts to produce a latest generation regional jet with the SpaceJet. It has been a pleasure working with the Mitsubishi Aircraft team over the past five years,” said Jep Thornton, Managing Partner of Aerolease Aviation, in the statement seen by Simple Flying.
Mr Thornton further added that Aerolease wished Mistubishi success in restarting the program and that he remained interested in resuming the relationship when this would occur.
Simple Flying has reached out to Aerolease for further detail about the decision but was yet to receive a response at the time of publication.
Aerolease’s cancellation leaves Mitsubishi with 207 firm orders for the jet, meant to signal a new era in Japan’s commercial aircraft industry. SkyWest Airlines has ordered 100 of the SpaceJet M90, Japan Airlines 32, All Nippon Airways 15, and Swedish lessor Rockton ten. Mesa Airlines has ordered 50 of the smaller M100, with options for another 50.
Already eight years behind schedule, Mitsubishi announced on October 30th last year that it would be halting the SpaceJet program indefinitely.
“Considering the progress of the program and the market situation, the SpaceJet M90 development activities will be temporarily paused and efforts will be made to improve the business environment for the resumption during this period,” the Mitsubishi Group said in its business plan for the next three-year period.
Eight test aircraft, no deliveries
Originally conceived as the Mitsubishi Regional Jet in 2007, the plane, made to seat 70 to 90 passengers, is intended as North Asia’s version of Embraer’s successful regional aircraft. Unfortunately, the SpaceJet program, renamed in 2019, has been plagued by delays.
The plane only took its first flight in November 2015, and thus far, only seven M90 (previously the MRJ90) and one M100 (previously the MRJ70) test aircraft have been built. Not one has been delivered, and the plans for ANA to take the first next year have now been put on ice.
What do you think of the future for Mitsubishi’s SpaceJet program? Will more orders be scrapped over the coming year, or will we see it return to production and eventual delivery? Let us know in the comments.