Mitsubishi ends 2019 with ~500 commitments for SpaceJet

By Scott Hamilton
Jan. 22, 2020, © Leeham News: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. (MITAC) ended 2019 with 495 commitments for the M100 SpaceJets from multiple continents, LNA learned.

All but 100 from US regional carrier Mesa Airlines are unidentified.

Mesa announced a commitment for 50 firm orders and 50 options in September at the US Regional Airline Assn. annual meeting in Nashville.

MITAC wouldn’t comment, but LNA understands that commitments come from North America and Europe. It’s unclear if additional commitments are from Asia.

Japan’s ANA and Japan Air Lines are launch customers for the M90 SpaceJet, previously called the MRJ90. This model was rebranded in June at the Paris Air Show when the M100 SpaceJet program was launched.


The MRJ90 is MITAC’s original design for a 90-seat regional airliner targeted for the US market. However, it, like the Embraer E175-E2—also for the US—is too heavy for current pilot Scope Clause contract restrictions.

MITAC created a new, 70-seat design, that falls between the original MRJ70 design and the MRJ90. Rebranding the program SpaceJet, the M100 is designed for the US Scope-restricted market.

Related articles

• Mitsubishi makes the case for SpaceJet
• How Mitsubishi morphed the MRJ70 into the M100
• Evolving the MRJ into SpaceJet

Mitsubishi M90 SpaceJet, at the 2019 Paris Air Show. Photo by Scott Hamilton.

The MRJ90 program was plagued by technical and design delays. Entry into service is now set for this year or next, depending on when Japanese authorities certify the airplane. A negative halo effect from the Boeing 737 MAX certification controversies caused Japan’s regulator to adopt a go-slow approach. It’s now unclear if certification will be coming this year.

ANA and JAL hoped to have the M90 in service before the Summer Olympics.

The M100 EIS target is 2023. More likely, it will be 2024.

Only new gen airplane for US Scope market

The M100 is the only new generation regional airliner that meets the current US Scope Clause restrictions for unlimited specification operations.

There is a weight limit of 86,000 lbs in the Scope Clauses for American, Delta and United airlines, the prime users of this category aircraft.

The MRJ90, rebranded the M90, exceeds the limit. So does the E175-E2, the smallest of the E2 family. Embraer continues to sell the E175-E1 to the US market in the meantime, but the M100’s economics are significantly superior to the older generation E1.

With the withdrawal of Bombardier from the RJ market—the last CRJ rolls off this assembly line this year—Embraer and MITAC will be the only viable suppliers of RJs in the next decade.

China’s COMAC ARJ21 and Russia’s Sukhoi SSJ100 are essentially home-market aircraft. Very few sales will come outside these two markets.
Embraer and Mitsubishi will essentially have a global duopoly of regional jets.

M200 to supersede M90

The M100 will be followed by the 90-seat M200, which will succeed the M90. The M200, which at this point is a concept and not yet offered for sale, takes the M100 design improvements and economics and marries these to a stretch.

The SpaceJet is powered by the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbo Fan engine. It’s not recognized that Mitsubishi was the launch customer of the GTF family.

Bombardier followed with the C Series. Airbus and Irkut were next, with Embraer bringing up the rear.

23 Comments on “Mitsubishi ends 2019 with ~500 commitments for SpaceJet

  1. MHI is a coming Aircraft builder with finansial muscles to work out problems and meet customer requirements. It is essential to keep the engineers busy and learn from one aircraft when getting started on the next Project.
    I would not be surprised if their next design would be a cost effective light weight shorter range 3+3 seating 180seat jet with Composite wings and Al-Li fuselage with components from the same suppliers as on the M100/200. Using automation expertise from the car industry to reduce cost and improve assembly precision and quality.

    • Agreed. What Bombardier/Canada couldn’t do, MHI/Japan will do.

      The single aisle market is going to become crowded. I don’t think Airbus will be able to wait for another decade, never mind Boeing.

      • Yes, if start with a very light Aircraft with todays technology with limited range and leave good space for future Engines that can get bigger and heavier, as Engines improve the fuel you have in the wing will take you further and further. As you know your design margins you can use them to increase MTOW and add a bit more fuel. The MC-21 is a bit the opposite with a bigger diameter fuselage and pretty heavy aicraft trying to go directly against the 737MAX and A320neo instead of optimize for a different operation and let time and Technology help you to bite into their MTOW operations.

          • We will see what the MC-21 will end up with empty mass, MTOW and range where formdrag is a major factor besides drag due to mass/lift. They can be clever sometimes and surprise with a good package like the MiG15/MiG21 when one cheif designers philopsophy can be applied on the whole optimized Aircraft for a few well defined missions, but that happens more seldom today.

      • It’s probably more accurate to say that what Bombardier/Canada could not do, MHI/Japan will now attempt, with the advantage of more substantial resources. None of this is easy and success is hardly foreordained.

        That said, 2019 was a transformative year for MHI – it looks massively more competitive and relevant today than it did in 2018. Before it was a wannabe with dubious prospects. Now it seems far more like a real Player. That said, this is all really hard.

        • That might not be the case as Japan has tied itself tightly to Boeing with major work on 777, 767 and 787.Could Boeing have a non compete agreement with Japan over its 6 seat/single aisle types?

          They did have a sort of deal for support from Boeing for spares etc for its MRJ once they made it into EIS ( but clearly no support on certification!)
          However Boeing ditched them over Embraer which forced Mitac to look at the CRJ support system – and its customers, with 900 or so built of the CRJ700-1000 series-maybe thats what they mean by ‘1000 customers’

  2. 495 “commitments”, 395 of which are so “committed” they can’t associate their name to the orders?

    Hard not to be skeptical!

    • +1000
      I too seriously doubt how firm these “commitments” actually are.

  3. It’s hard to see the logic of the Spacejet naming convention:

    — MRJ90 becomes M90 Spacejet, but is a larger aircraft than…
    — MRJ70 that becomes M100 Spacejet

    *** Thus 90 is larger than 100? Not intuitive.

    — Then the M90 will be dropped and replaced by the M200, at which point only will it make sense.

    Why not, for example have something like:

    MRJ70 becomes M75 Spacejet… M90 Spacejet is then OK as a new name for interim MRJ90… Then, M95 Spacejet for eventual successor to M90.

    • @Bernard:

      MRJ90 to M90 simply to retain name since it’s out there. After that, 100, 200, 300 (if there is one), 400, etc. Not tied to seat count any more.

  4. Is it possible for LNA to detail some performance numbers of the M100 against the E175E1 Plus version?

  5. 500 units? That would be huge. Lots of regional US airlines I supposed committed to Spacejet but without telling this to Boeing-Embraer, in case if MITAC wouldn’t succeed.

    • Just as Embraer with its original new E series helped end maybe the Bae 146 and the CRJ , so the Spacejet will effectively kill off the Embraer scope compliant plane. They may have engineers but they arent miracle workers when they have a heavier double bubble fuselage competing against a single bubble. The only way out I can see is a new lighter engine , say derived from GE Passport- which uses Leap technology, but the volume might not be there.

  6. Any info as to the short runway capability of the M100 Spacejet? Will it be on par with the E-175 and CRJ-700? Airports such as HHH, EYW and HVN need aircraft to deal with short runways.

  7. Vaporware. They can’t get the three M90’s out the door for test. They haven’t learned much from the MRJ70 issues… other than a lot of folks said, “I told you so.” The airplanes continue to have gear, flap, APU, and wiring problems.

  8. Great article. Would it be more appropriate if your title said: “Mitsubishi ends 2019 with ~ 220 firm orders for its Spacejet”? Just a comment!

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