Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has unveiled Japan’s first domestically-produced commercial passenger jetliner in about 50 years at a roll-out ceremony in Nagoya over the weekend.
The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) was presented to a crowd of about 500 at the Komaki Minami plant of MHI’s Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works facility on Saturday, October 18.
The aircraft, with its distinctive pointed nose, is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1200 geared turbofan engines and available in either the the 90-seat MRJ90 or 70-seat MRJ70 models. To date, airlines have placed 191 firm orders for the MRJ.
Amid a traditional Japanese drum performance and singing from a local children’s choir, MHI chairman Hideaki Omiya expressed great pride at the MRJ roll-out ceremony.
“Today’s Japan has achieved recovery from the era of post-war poverty,” Omiya said at the roll-out ceremony in comments translated by an interpreter.
“Now, we live in an era where ‘Made In Japan’ products are available abundantly in all stores in the world. However, the aircraft made in Japan was in hiatus unfortunately for as long as 40 years after the end of production of the YS-11.
“The revival of domestically produced passenger aircraft has been a long-held dream of mine, MHI’s dream and indeed it is the dream of Japan.”
To date, the MRJ has received orders from ANA, Japan Airlines, Eastern Air Lines Group, US-based Skywest, Trans States Holdings and Air Mandalay.
The MRJ competes with Bombardier’s CSeries and Embraer’s E-jet family in the less than 100 seats market.
First flight is scheduled for 2015 and first delivery is due in 2017. The aircraft program was currently about three years behind schedule.
The chief executive of launch customer ANA Holdings Shinichiro Ito congratulated MHI on producing the first aircraft.
“Witnessing this historic moment and being able to witness the beautiful aircraft so close I feel touched and moved,” he said.
“I can’t wait for the delivery of the first aircraft in 2017.”
The 68-seat YS-11 turboprop was Japan’s previous attempt to make commercial passenger aircraft in the 1960s. Some 182 YS-11 aircraft were built.