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[UPDATE – MRJ PDF]

The news was expected.  But even so, it is frustrating to read the following from MITAC: “Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) announced today that MHI and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation will adjust the first delivery of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) from mid-2018 to mid-2020.  The change is due to revisions of certain systems and electrical configurations on the aircraft to meet the latest requirements for certification.”

The aircraft was meant to enter service in 2014.  These delays are troubling to say the least.  Reports suggest that technical issues with the positioning of the aircraft’s electronics forced a design review. The MRJ90’s type certification is delayed to the fall 2019.

Program delays are not unusual – they happen at the biggest and best OEMs.  But for MITAC the news must be a big undermining of customer confidence.  For example launch… Continue reading

The regional jet business is in many ways a more difficult market to trade in. Whereas among the big jets you have a duopoly, in the regional jet business you see four competitors fighting.  We have frequently referred to the regional space as the “small duopoly” – after all its primarily a fight between Bombardier and Embraer.

However news over the past 24 hours suggests the newcomers may be facing some issues.

First SuperJet – on Xmas day, an email came from Italy describing a Russian Airworthiness Directive.  It reads:

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Sukhoi Civil Aircraft comment on fulfillment of FATA (Russian Federation Federal Air Transport Agency) Airworthiness Directive (dated 23.12.2016)

 As part of a routine inspection of an SSJ in Russia, a defect was detected in an element of the tail stabilizer in an area not critical to the aircraft operation. The element has a multi-level redundancy system… Continue reading

The US scope clauses are seen by many as a market aberration.  After all, commercial logic demands that new technologies are quickly deployed. It happens like that in every industry, right?

Not in the airline business, and especially not in the US airline business.  In the US, pilots have seen their jobs degraded with every business cycle.  This is not a new thing – Bloomberg had this story in 2014, and this 2016 follow up. Being a US commercial pilot is, for many young people, an oddly risky career choice.  In 1980 there were 827,000 pilots in the US and by 2015 that number had shrunk to 590,000.  Despite average salaries well over $100,000 becoming a commercial pilot in the US is not an attractive career choice.  With a starting salary that does not allow for education debt repayment and ensure board and lodging… Continue reading

JSC “Sukhoi Civil Aircraft” reported today that it obtained EASA approval of Sukhoi Superjet 100 Long Range (SSJ100LR). The certificate enables Sukhoi Superjet 100 deliveries to the foreign customers with the range increased by 50% comparing to the basic version (SSJ100 Basic).

The new range for the aircraft rises from 3,048km (1,645 NM) to 4,578km (2,471 NM).  The LR version has been flying within Russia since 2014 (picture of a Gazpromavia SSJ100LR). The LR represents about a quarter of the SSJ deliveries.

The additional performance capabilities of the SSJ means the ~100 seat market will grow ever more competitive.  However focus for the SSJ will remain outside the US absent an FAA certification.  Whether Sukhoi might try to get the EASA certificate recognized by the FAA is an open question.  (We asked) The SSJ has built an order book of 370 and 96 have been delivered.… Continue reading

The third flight test aircraft (FTA-3) of the MRJ fleet conducted its first flight on November 22, 2016.  FTA-3 took off from Nagoya at 10:18 am and landed at 12:22 pm. The total flight time was 2 hours and 4 minutes (Preliminary figures).

mrj-fta-3_first-flight_3Meanwhile, late last week, MITAC had other news too.

The fourth flight test aircraft (FTA-4) of the MRJ fleet left Nagoya at 9:35 am on November 15 (JST), and arrived at Grant County International Airport in Washington, the U.S. at 6:46 am on November 19 (JST) (1:46 pm on November 18 in local time), via Guam International Airport, Majuro International Airport in Republic of the Marshall Islands, Honolulu International Airport and San Jose International Airport.  The total flight distance and time were approximately 14,000 km, and 18 hours and 43 minutes.

fta-4_ferry-flight_fta-1-back-and-fta-4-front

MITAC now has two if its aircraft at Moses Lake.  It appears the… Continue reading

AirInsight is pleased to announce it has published two in-depth reports on the leading aircraft in the 100-150 seat segment.

Our assessment is that Bombardier and Embraer will essentially split ~80% of the market for approximately 4,000 aircraft. We believe Airbus and Boeing will only together retain ~20% share over the next 20 years in this segment.  This volume should ensure both small OEMs cover their breakeven numbers.   Which should also provide both firms with excellent financial platforms to grow aircraft offerings.  For Bombardier, this growth likely means a CS500 to get to a three member family. For Embraer, with a three family solution from 78 seats to 130 seats, management seems satisfied.  But knowledge from developing the KC-390 will be useful for the company’s next programs.  Embraer has a track record of driving IP from every program into each succeeding program.

We have… Continue reading

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