Following the news that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will focus on certifying the M90 variant of the SpaceJet regional aircraft programs;
Nicolas Jouan, Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the situation;
“Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ reaffirmed intention to see the MH90 variant of its new SpaceJet family of regional aircraft being certified this year is a surprise as it comes only three weeks after the shelving of the same program and closing of non-Japanese SpaceJet offices due to challenging market conditions. This risk-averse decision from Mitsubishi was understandable at the time, as the potential recovery of the air travel industry, which is set to lose hundreds of billions of dollars this year, is unclear both in terms of timeframe and the actual transformation it will go through.
“The company may be taking the risk of going ahead in the regional aircrafts segment in order to be well positioned when the market re-starts. A case could be made for regional aircrafts in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, as air travel could refocus on shorter hauls while longer international travel becomes more of a hassle with health checks and stringent safety measures on board. The SpaceJet program was boosted last year with the acquisition of Bombardier’s commercial aircraft division, focusing on regional aircrafts. The certification of the M90, the first variant of the SpaceJet family, will therefore go ahead while the 76-seat M100 variant will remain shelved.
“Other companies are remaining cautious regarding the potential of regional jets, as Airbus postponed the A220 production ramp up and Boeing withdrew from a partnership with Embraer, so this move may provide Mitsubishi with a head start.”