Mitsubishi Heavy Industry announced a first flight delay for the MRJ, and that it has launched a new management structure to facilitate the transition of the MRJ program from the development phase to manufacturing phase of development. In addition to the management changes, the company has relocated its complete head office functions to the Nagoya Airport Terminal Building, adjacent to the manufacturing and test facilities, to improve efficiency and oversight.
The company reported that progress on the development of the aircraft is moving forward, with static strength testing and the manufacturing of a second aircraft proceeding smoothly. However, the timing of the first flight has been pushed back to September or October in order to incorporate the results of various ground tests and feedback from those tests into the flight test aircraft.
Once those changes are made, the company expects to enter a more intensive flight test program and maintain is schedule for first delivery in the second quarter of 2017. Our view is that while the initial schedule for EIS remains feasible, this most recent delay has taken any slack out of the program, and that events will need to run smoothly for this to occur. We remain hopeful that certification testing run smoothly and that the aircraft enters service on schedule.
The MRJ-90 has been ordered by ANA, TransStates, SkyWest and the revived Eastern Airlines.