Japan's First Airliner in 50 Years Has Finally Arrived
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.
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 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.
The aircraft has several test stations installed, though, where technicians will be working throughout the testing process.
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.
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'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.
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:
- Inside Airbus’ (Empty) A380plus Double-Decker Airliner
- Airbus Plans to Refresh A320 Cabins in 2020
- Video Tour: Qatar Airways’ Brand-New Qsuite Business Class