Japan’s First Airliner in 50 Years Has Finally Arrived

Jun 21, 2017

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In the 1960s, Japan produced a small turboprop called the NAMC YS-11, but fewer than 200 were built, and the country hasn’t manufactured an airliner since then. Until now.

This week, at the Paris Air Show, Mitsubishi showed off its MRJ90 regional jet, which the company recently began testing in Washington State.

Mitsubishi Regional Jet Paris Air Show

Star Alliance member ANA is the launch customer, but the plane isn’t expected to begin carrying passengers until the mid-2020s — so if flying a Japanese-made regional jet is on your radar, you’re going to have to wait.

Mitsubishi Regional Jet Paris Air Show

Mitsubishi did welcome Paris Air Show attendees on board for a brief (rushed) tour of the empty cabin — as with most of the planes I saw this week (with one notable exception), there aren’t any passenger seats.

Mitsubishi Regional Jet Paris Air Show

The aircraft has several test stations installed, though, where technicians will be working throughout the testing process.

Mitsubishi Regional Jet Paris Air Show

Once complete, the MRJ90 will accommodate a total of 81 passengers in a two-cabin configuration (with a nine-seat first class) or 92 passengers with only economy seating on board.

Mitsubishi Regional Jet Paris Air Show

An extended-range version of the plane should be able to fly more than 2,300 miles — in theory, ANA can deploy the MRJ90 on both flights within Japan and to other destinations in Asia.

Mitsubishi Regional Jet Paris Air Show

Mitsubishi’s first jet was originally scheduled to enter the test phase in 2012, so it’s now about five years behind schedule. Although the MRJ90 has now begun this process, we’re still about three years away from the first delivery.

Mitsubishi Regional Jet Paris Air Show

US regional carriers have signed on to purchase nearly 200 Mitsubishi Regional Jets, so once the deliveries begin it shouldn’t be long before we see these flying within the United States.

See these posts for more from the Paris Air Show:

Head to this page for a complete list of our 2017 Paris Air Show coverage.

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