Mitsubishi Aircraft (MITAC) has confirmed the first flight of the aircraft has been delayed by up to six months, from late this year to during the second quarter of 2015.
The company said the first delivery will take place two years later.
In a statement confirming the revised MRJ schedule, Mitsubishi said: “ In the course of developing the MRJ with a focus on safety, unprecedented fuel efficiency and passenger comfort, MITAC has simultaneously addressed processes in which design and development of aircraft system and component specifications are aligned with safety certification. Design and respective certification, however, have taken greater resources than anticipated which, in turn, impacted component deliveries and aircraft fabrication.”
Supply chain issues had been seen as likely to delay the first flight, with suggestions composite component manufacturing and Pratt & Whitney’s PW1200G geared turbofan had increased the risk to maintaining the earlier development schedule.
“In step with program partners, MITAC has established this new schedule to take into account the fulfillment of respective safety certification standards,” the company said. “ Assembly of the first test airframes is under way in preparation for respective ground and flight tests.”
In July this year the manufacturer completed a reorganisation of senior positions that saw the appointment of a senior vice president responsible specifically for supply chain management. In announcing the changes, Mitsubishi said; “An Executive Officer will lead each Division in order to facilitate inter-divisional collaboration, as well as to strengthen MRJ program execution via across-the-board development schedule control and implementation.”
The MRJ has so far achieved 165 firm orders and 160 options.