Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) delivered just twelve 777, 777X, and 787 shipsets to Boeing in the first quarter of its financial year 2022, which ended in June. This compares to 21 shipsets in the same period last year. The lower number reflects the low rates at which Boeing is producing the widebody models, but things seem to improve. Mitsubishi’s deliveries to Boeing slowly go up again.
The 777, in particular the freighter, is the cork on which the program is floating. MHI produced six units in Q1 compared to five in 2021. Only one 777-9 unit was produced versus two last year, which follows Boeing’s decision in April to pause the production of new 777-9s until late 2023. The US airframer wants to have visibility first on when the biggest twinjet will be certified. This is not expected before late 2024, with the first deliveries to follow in early 2025.
In Q1, Mitsubishi still produced five 787 units compared to fourteen in Q1 2021. Despite the delivery pause which is to be lifted on Wednesday, Boeing has continued to produce the Dreamliner at very low rates and says it will slowly get back to five per month in the medium-term future, but how long it will take to get there is unclear. But the five units that MHI delivered in the first quarter actually look well compared to Q4 last year when only two were dispatched to the US. MHI hit five for the last time in Q2 2021.
Looking at the bigger picture, the situation at MHI seems to be slightly improving. Deliveries of twelve units are the highest it has been since Q2 last year, as the table shows. In Q2 2021, total deliveries to Boeing stood at ten, in Q3 at eleven, and in Q4 at just seven.
MHI’s Aircraft, Defense & Space business unit reported a ¥6.5 billion profit for Q1 compared to ¥3.5 billion. “Despite the continued impact of OEM production cuts on Aero Structures, Commercial Aviation profit increased year on year due to fixed cost reductions and foreign exchange effects”, Mitsubishi says in its earning release on August 5. “Defense & Space orders achieved large YoY increase. Revenues and profit were strong as well.” Revenues were slightly down to ¥129 billion from ¥130.8 billion, of which ¥31.6 billion was from commercial aviation. The order intake increased to ¥97 billion from ¥61.8 billion. Commercial Aviation contributed to that with ¥32 billion.
In its full-year guidance, MHI expects the business unit to produce a ¥20 billion profit, on par with that of 2021. Revenues should still be slightly down to ¥600 billion from ¥605.2 billion, and order intake at ¥650 billion from ¥774.2 billion. As we said in May at the FY21 results presentation, Mitsubishi’s FY22 fortunes depend on Boeing.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.