Mitsubishi lands MOU for up to 100 SpaceJets from USA’s Mesa Air

Sept. 5, 2019, © Leeham News: Nashville—Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp (MITAC) won a large commitment for up to 100 of its new M100 SpaceJet from US regional carrier Mesa Airlines.

The Memorandum of Understanding was announced today at the Regional Airline Assn. annual US conference. The MOU is for 50 firm orders and purchase rights for 50 more. Mesa is a new MITAC customer. Deliveries begin in 2024. Entry into service is planned for 2023.

The M100 is compliant with the US pilot contract Scope Clauses, which (among other things) limit the weight of the airplane and seating configuration.

A Letter of Intent for 15 M100s was announced at the Paris Air Show. This customer has yet to be identified.

Final contract needed

A final contract must be negotiated. Brad Rich, EVP and COO of Mesa, said the order is conditional on Mesa placing the airplanes with its partner legacy airlines. Current partners are American and United.

Mesa flies the Bombardier CRJ900 for American and the Embraer E175-E1 and Bombardier CRJ700 for United.

Rich, who signed the MOU for Mesa at the RAA show, said the spacious interior design and airplane economics were major attractions of the airplane.

The Mesa COO is intimately familiar with regional jets. He worked for nearly 25 years at SkyWest Airlines, a major CRJ and E175 operator. SkyWest also has a conditional order for 100 MRJ90s, the precursor to the SpaceJet. He was a competitor to Mesa while at SkyWest.

Rich worked at United Airlines from 2015 until March before joining Mesa. He oversaw regional partner relations at United, including Mesa.

SkyWest orders

SkyWest’s orders for the MRJ90, which has been renamed the M90, are conditioned on Scope Clause relief and partner airplane placements.

The MRJ90/M90 exceeds the weight limit, as does the Embraer E175-E2. SkyWest also has a conditional order for 100 of these airplanes.

In a separate event at RAA, SkyWest CEO Chip Childs said no decision has been made yet to swap the M90 order to the M100, or the E175-E2 order to the Scope-compliant but current technology E175-E1. SkyWest operates the E175-E1 for its partners as well as a huge fleet of CRJs.

“We’re going to watch and see what happens with Scope,” Childs said. “Our orders can go pretty fungible from E1 to E2. Our strategy is to be prepared both ways. If we get Scope, we’re ready. If we don’t get Scope, we continue to make some adjustments.”

Childs called the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) planned acquisition of the CRJ program and product support system “outstanding.”

“We like the reasons why they bought it. We look forward to hopefully they enhancing the program and services [Bombardier] is providing for us now,” he said.



16 Comments on “Mitsubishi lands MOU for up to 100 SpaceJets from USA’s Mesa Air

  1. A good backgrounder based on a visit to Mesas HQ in Phoenix and its main maintenance shop and training centre
    Interesting comment at the end.
    “With major airlines wanting more from their regional partners, the term “regional” is quickly becoming outdated. Just as the term “commuter airline” died when most U.S. regional airlines stopped flying turboprop aircraft such as the Saab 340 and Embraer E-120, regional will probably give way to a new term to describe these airlines that are flying larger aircraft and longer routes than ever.”

    • Hey Duke: I know we have our disagreements but would like to recommend a great book on the Allison V-1710

      Title is V is For Victory, the story of the Allison V-1710

      If you can get it over there (library?) I would recommend it.

      Its a great read on how and why it got slotted the way it did, major in depth tech stuff.

      Also a good comparison to the RR Merlin.

      Just finished one on Richard Bong (P-38). If they had run the Allison right in that plane they would have easily made Berlin , fight and and back.

  2. “We’re going to watch and see what happens with Scope,”

    Clearly he didn’t learn… Scope clause has not been amended during the economic recovery. Right now we are faced with US-China tradewar, possible recession, safety scare inflicted by Boeing.

    I don’t know what is he counting on but it seems they risk making another mistake.

  3. Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp might be the new the next big Aircraft manufacturer similar to what Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi did in the car industry, starting with smaller modern and economical Aircraft and later move up to the Lexus size and class. Having continuous government support for military Technologies that can be transferred to Commercial Aircrafts helps a lot.

    • If you compare Japan’s effort to the other countries such as the European nations, Russia, and even China, what Japan has done in regard to their aviation industry was not enough considering MITAC had to bear more than 7 billion dollars of costs and multiple delays for a RJ.

    • Mitsubishi has a illustrious 100 year heritage in aviation including a strong recent one in fighter jets and small passenger aircaft, so has its partner Subaru (Nakajima) and even partner Toyota built a helicopter in 1942. During the WW2 period the Japanese developed their own laminar flow wings, superb light weight construction techniques, incredible radial engine with turbo chargers. I suspect the Japanese will be big players.

      • As far as I know Japan had no Laminar flow in WWII and the P-51 that supposedly did was marginally laminar.

        I would suggest you re-consider the illustrious history as WWII or leading up to it was not what we could call the high light of civilizations by Japan.

        Mitsubishi was a large enabler of those actions and is no remembered fondly in the US.

        Japans post WWII aviation endeavors have been heavily government subsidized and never have been anything other than me too assemblers at huge cost to Japan.

        • The latter (December 1942) Mitsubishi Betty G4M2 had “LB” laminar flow profile wings developed by Professor Tani of Tokyo University in 1937. The Mitsubishi J2M Raiden was also laminar flow. The Kawanishi n1k-j had them and so did the experimental pusher canard the Kyushu J7W1 Shinden. This was all their own work and owes nothing to Eastman Jacobs’s excellent work at NACA.

          The Germans also had developed their own laminar flow wings, they were used on the Me 309 fighter (flew in June 1942) that was to replace the Me 109 but it was decided to concentrate resources on productionising the Me 262 instead.

          Note that when Boeing tried to sue Airbus over infringement of supercritical wing technology patents that Airbus was able to turn to German research from the 1940s and show prior art.

          Its true to say that the NACA laminar flow wings of the P51 were not laminar in real life due to damage and contamination of the wings surface (a fact noted by non other than Ludwig Prandle when he examined a P51 wing in a wind tunnel) it has to be noted that Laminar flow wings also have a significantly higher critical Mach and it is this higher critical Mach that gives them lower drag since WW2 aircraft were operating at Mach 0.5 to 0.66. They also had a profile which left more room for fuel.

          True passive laminar flow wings did not appear till bumpless glass fibre composite wings used in some sailplanes and actually incorporating wipers that run on rails under the wing to clean the upper wing in flight.

          Japanese engines suffered lower power from lower octane fuel and they favoured lower wing loadings for manoeuvrability and climb. This explains their lower speed to US types.

  4. I’m a bit confused how the entry into service precedes the delivery date by one year.

    • @Thoan: The M100 entry into service is 2023; Mesa wants delivery in 2024, so some other airline will be the first operator.

  5. Looks like the M100 is the CRJ replacement aircraft of the future, if they can get it right. Also a big future for it in the greater Europe area.

  6. If MITAC were ready with Spacejet now, I don’t think if any airline would buy E170-E1. It’s a plane with a big future in this segment.

  7. The aquisition of the CRJ infrastructure by MHI and deals like this should be a real wake up call for Boeing Brasil Commercial waiting on a Scope change..

    • Which makes me wonder, if these M100s regional jets will be built in Canada.,… That would be very good for all the aerospace workers that need employment

    • It does make you wonder “what were they thinking”

      Clearly a day late, a dollar short and no where near what Airbus got.

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