On September 5th, 2019, Japanese airframer Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the purchase of 100 SpaceJet M100 aircraft. The MoU targets 50 firm orders and purchase rights for a further 50.
What is the SpaceJet?
At the 2019 Paris Air Show, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation announced that it would cancel plans to build the in-development MRJ70. It also announced that the MRJ program would be renamed ‘SpaceJet’.
Instead of the MRJ70, the company has decided to create the MRJ100. The aircraft is specifically designed to fit the current US scope clause restrictions (ie the aircraft must carry a maximum of 76 passengers).
However, the aircraft is flexible. As shown in the image below, the aircraft can hold up to 88 passengers in an all-economy configuration. So although the MRJ100 was designed with the US market in mind, it could appeal to carriers in other regions who are looking for a new uber-efficient, clean-sheet aircraft.
What Mitsubishi Aircraft Thinks of the Deal
Hisakazu Mizutani, President Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, said this:
“As we developed the Mitsubishi SpaceJet family, we knew we had changed the way that passengers and airlines will think about regional travel. Mesa Airlines’ selection of the SpaceJet M100 confirms that our aircraft fulfills current and future needs in this industry and that airlines are ready to move our discussions forward.”
What Mesa Airlines Thinks
Jonathan Ornstein, Chairman and CEO, Mesa Air Group, Inc. added:
“The U.S. mainline carriers are looking for an aircraft that will allow them to provide a consistent, premium passenger experience from their regional to their long-haul fleets. With its large cabin, comfort, new technology, and low operating costs, the Mitsubishi SpaceJet M100 can deliver this premium experience within U.S. scope clause.”
How Mesa Airlines Will Use the Aircraft
Mesa intends to use the new SpaceJet M100 fleet in their Capacity Purchase Agreements with American Eagle and/or United Express. The delivery of the aircraft should begin in 2024, pending any changes between the MoU and a firm order.
Featured Image Source: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation