At Farnborough Airshow, Mitsubishi’s MRJ aircraft made its flying display debut. The programme’s Chief Development Officer tells FINN the schedule is back on track.
Alex Bellamy, Chief Development Officer, MRJ Program Management Office, explained: The MRJ is a 100-seat or below regional jet. It’s a family of aircraft.”
At Farnborough, Mitsubishi showed the MRJ90, one of its flight test aircraft.
Bellamy said coming next is a smaller aircraft, the MRJ70.
“That aircraft is fully optimised for the American market,” he said. “It’s a clean-sheet design with the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engine.
“It is the only clean-sheet design which will fit within the scope clause restrictions of the United States,” he commented.
In a market that has typically been dominated by Embraer and Bombardier, Bellamy shared why he thinks the MRJ stands out.
“First of all we have a clean-sheet design aircraft; we have aerodynamics which are advanced, as well as the geared turbofan engine. The most important feature for us, though, is its extremely spacious cabin. Because we have the bags at the back of the aircraft, we’re able to optimise the shape of the fuselage to give maximum passenger comfort. We have 18.5-inch [wide] seats, we have lots of head space, more head space than the competition, which means flying on this aircraft will feel like you’re flying on a much bigger aircraft.”
Bellamy also highlighted the plane’s environmental credentials.
“Certainly, here in Europe we know that noise, community noise in particular, and emissions are a very important topic. With the geared turbofan engine, combined with the advanced aerodynamics, we have the quietest aircraft in its class, as well as very low emissions,” he explained.
However, despite all this, the MRJ has faced significant delays to date.
Bellamy told FINN: “We’re on schedule for our mid-2020 delivery. There have been challenges in the past – we’re over those now, we’re very much focused on that delivery. We’re building an industry here for Japan, as well as a product.”