Mitsubishi’s options for the SpaceJet

Subscription Required By Scott Hamilton
Introduction
June 2, 2020, © Leeham News: Mitsubishi Heavy Industry (MHI) yesterday closed the acquisition of the Bombardier CRJ program. There are 15 CRJs in backlog to complete. But the purpose of the acquisition was to give MHI a global product support system for the SpaceJet. With the aviation world still reeling and confused by the “suspension” of the SpaceJet program, what are the options going forward? MHI last month announced it was suspending indefinitely development of the M100 SpaceJet. MHI said it will reevaluate the market demand of the M100. It suspended further flight testing of the M90 SpaceJet. It says it will proceed with office “validation” of the M90 for certification. Facilities in the US and Canada devoted to the SpaceJet program are closing. About half the workforce devoted to SpaceJet in Nagoya, Japan, is being reduced. Customers that signed MOUs for 495 M100s and which have firm orders for some 200 MRJ90s (the previous brand for the M90) are in limbo. Suppliers are in limbo. MHI’s failure to communicate with them leaves a planeload of questions and no answers. MHI’s move clears the way for Embraer to have a monopoly in the regional jet space. Unless—unless MHI restarts the SpaceJet program on its own or partners with another company to make a commitment to developing a new airliner. LNA noted when the Boeing-Embraer joint venture collapsed that this presented opportunities for MHI and Boeing to renew and expand their previous relationship for the MRJ program. Here are some possibilities facing MHI.
Summary
  1. Kill SpaceJet entirely.
  2. Restart SpaceJet.
  3. Resuscitate the agreement for Boeing to support the MRJ program, updating it to the SpaceJet.
  4. Resuscitate and expand the previous agreement, strengthening the development SpaceJet and co-marketing by Boeing.
  5. Create an entirely new cooperative agreement, vastly broadening and strengthening decades-long ties between MHI and Boeing. LNA sees this as including SpaceJet and an entirely new family of aircraft replacing the 737 MAX.
  6. An expanded, broader agreement could even include development of a new “NMA Lite.”
  7. Finally, buy or create a JV with Embraer Commercial Aviation.

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