Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy cancels troubled passenger jet project
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said on Tuesday it had abandoned a struggling project to develop a passenger jet, a decade after the jet was due to hit the market.
The Japanese company said its SpaceJet, which suffered from repeated delivery delays and technical problems, was “unable to confirm business viability”.
The development of twin-engine aircraft for short-haul flights marked a new chapter for Japan’s aviation industry, the country last launching a commercial airliner in 1962.
But the project – which began in 2008 under the name Mitsubishi Regional Jet, with first deliveries scheduled for 2013 – has faced major difficulties when it comes to implementation.
Several test flights were canceled due to air conditioning failures and other software problems, and the delays meant that the original design needed to be revised.
Mitsubishi Heavy said it was “difficult to obtain the necessary understanding and cooperation from global partners” and “significant additional funding is required” for the aircraft’s design to be approved.
The company said North American regulations, a shortage of pilots and the need to find “decarbonization solutions” also contributed to the project’s collapse.
The jet program, backed by the Japanese government and major companies including Toyota, changed its name to SpaceJet in 2019.
Mitsubishi Heavy said its decision “will not have a material impact on MHI’s financial results”.
© 2023 AFP
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