Mitsubishi rolls out MRJ90

Mitsubishi rolled out its MRJ90 regional jet, the first passenger airliner to be produced in Japan since the YS-11 turbo-prop in 1962.

The MRJ90 challenges the Embraer E-175/190 and E2 and the Bombardier CRJ900. The smaller MRJ70 won’t be developed until after the MRJ90 is well on its way. The MRJ90 faces six months of ground testing before the first flight test. Entry into service is now scheduled for June 2017, some four years late.

The MRJ90 is a 2×2 configuration with 18 inch wide seats and aisle, making it nearly as wide as the E-Jets, which are fractionally wider. The MRJ will have better passenger comfort than the CRJ, a ground-breaking airplane in its day but increasingly outmoded when it comes to passenger comfort.

The Mitsubishi is a clean-sheet design, but Embraer claims its new E-Jet, with a new wing, the same Pratt & Whitney GTF engines, a new fly-by-wire system, a smaller tailplane, and aerodynamic improvements, will nonetheless beat the MRJ’s economics.

Regardless, we believe the MRJ and Embraer will dominate the 70-99 seat market. BBD’s share of this sector continues to decline. The Sukhoi SSJ100, while posting reasonably good orders, is and will remain handicapped by its Russian lineage and overhang of Russian politics. Production and delivery rates haven’t lived up to promises.

Mitsubishi, while discovering that being an airplane integrator is much more difficult than being a supplier (it designed and built the wings for the Boeing 787, which produced challenges in its own right), should in the end produce a solid airplane.

The company has been looking into this long enough. We recall that at least 15 years ago Mitsubishi made the rounds of US regional airlines getting input about what a new airplane might be. At that point, the 50-seat market was still viable. We were retained by a consultant to Mitsubishi to facilitate a meeting with a regional airline–so we know how far back this goes, and what Mitsubishi was asking. (We thought at the time Mitsubishi needed to go “up,” rather than do a “me too.”)

Mitsubishi has already talked about an MRJ100, but there are no firm plans.

8 Comments on “Mitsubishi rolls out MRJ90

  1. The 787 at 9-abreast, which is the coach cabin configuration almost all airlines are selecting, has the same seat width as a CRJ.

    If the CRJ is “outmoded” in terms of passenger comfort, what is the 787?

    • When an airline’s first 787 was delivered to a customer, it had nine abreast coach seats. We were at the delivery ceremony in a hangar at Boeing. The coach seat pitch and design, in addition to the nine abreast, made sampling the seat for all of one minute one of the most uncomfortable seats we had been in, including CRJs. There is no way we would choose this airline if we have to fly coach on an overseas trip. We’d choose (if we could) a competing A330 with an 18 inch seat.

      • What about an super size single aisle aircraft for the US market?
        Interior width 186 in. 3 feet aisle width and 6 seats at 25 inch – the 767XXL!

        Where are checks for hands free luggage size. Why are there no checks for a.. size?

        I payed for my complete seat. I dislike to share my space with somebody I don’t know.

  2. There’s no doubt the Japanese can build aircraft as an integrator, the P-X, XC-2, F1 and US-2 being examples rather then that old prop.

    I wonder however why it would be better then E-jets, who also will have new engines, a new wing plus mature production and global aftermarket support. And a payed for FAL.

    • There is also the possibility of BBD dropping it margins and stealing sales from the MRJ and the E2’s. I would also expect BBD once the C-Series is no longer a drag on cash and resources, to utilize the C-Series experience and all they are learning with the all- composite Lear 85 to launch a clean sheet, advanced RJ.

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  4. I doubt BBD is in the discount mood as we speak. I would expect them to go for the CS300 which from a market / economics perspective seems a better proposition. Some airlines will combine CS100 and CS300 in their fleets or ned the range. Head to head with the E2-Jets the CS100 no doubt has a tough position.

    The E195E2 (or E200 I expect them to evantually name it) is definately a step up for Embraer. They have been shy about its capabilities but I expect them to “discover” it will fly further then the 2000NM they told us sofar. Definitely 737 A320/CS territory.

    • Interesting. I do think however that it is not realistic to used numbers from Embraer for a plane that hasn’t even had its design frozen to a plane that is in flight tests. One has to assume that between now and the launch of the “E200” that BBD will also optimize the CS100.

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