Exclusive: Mitsubishi ponders restarting CRJ production

By Scott Hamilton

July 6, 2021, © Leeham News: Mitsubishi is considering restarting production of the discontinued CRJ, LNA confirmed with multiple sources.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries discontinued production with the completion of the last of the small backlog it acquired with the June 1, 2019, purchase of the program from the ailing Bombardier. The final 15 CRJ900s were completed during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Montreal Mirabel Airport production line was shut down. The tooling was removed and stored. The buildings were turned over to Airbus, which now uses them for A220 production.

 

Source: Bombardier.

“Our primary focus remains the support of the CRJ operating fleet,” said Ross Mitchell, vice president of Shared Services.  “Clearly, the regional jet market is important to us, but we have made no commitment to move forward in this respect.”

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 7. Transport Category Aircraft

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca

June 11, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we scaled a nine-seat aircraft to a 19-seat aircraft and examined some of the pros and cons of such a change.  The aircraft are certified to the 14 CFR Part 23 rules in the US, labeled “Normal Category Aircraft“.

This week we scale the aircraft up one step further to understand product certification and operation rules for the larger Transport Category Aircraft (14 CFR Part 25) class.

The Bombardier Global 7500 is a Transport Category Aircraft (Part 25) as its gross weight is over 19,000lb. Source: Bombardier.

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Mitsubishi’s MHIRJ expanding MRO floor space by 100,000 sf

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By Scott Hamilton

Part 2 of 2. Part 1 appeared here.

Introduction

June 1, 2021, © Leeham News: It’s been one year today since Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) closed the acquisition of Bombardier’s CRJ program and global aftermarket support system.

In that year, MHI “suspended” development of the M90/M100 SpaceJet regional airliner, reduced funding by 99% and all but shuttered its business. The entire airline and aerospace supply chain industry believes MHI won’t restart the program.

But the Bombardier aftermarket business, renamed MHIRJ Aviation Group, appears to be thriving. MHIRJ expanded, opening a consulting business.

MHI also invested $20m in the expansion of its West Virginia and Arizona CRJ MRO lines. The company celebrates the expansions next month.

A small amount to be sure, but it nevertheless reversed the lack of monies by the nearly bankrupt Bombardier.

“We have the biggest regional MRO network in the world out of Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Tucson, Arizona,” said Ismail Mokabel, Senior Vice President, Head of Aftermarket. At both sites, MHIRJ can run about 30 simultaneous aircraft or equal lines of maintenance at any given time, he said.

MHIRJ is adding another 100,000 square feet of space, expanding two new hangars that will be up and running within the next 12 to 18 months. The contract was signed May 27.

Summary
  • Regional airline aftermarket MRO business fell 35%-40% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • MHIRJ profit-and-loss already is at pre-COVID level.
  • The company will develop performance improvement packages for CRJ.
  • May expand MRO services to other aircraft types after 2023.

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Mitsubishi grows ex-Bombardier business even as SpaceJet rests in limbo

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By Scott Hamilton

Part 1 of 2 Parts

Introduction

May 31, 2021, © Leeham News: June 1 is the first anniversary of the acquired by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of the Bombardier CRJ program and global support network.

It was on the surface a bittersweet moment.

MHI and Bombardier announced the deal June 25, 2019.

MHI’s aircraft subsidiary, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. (MITAC) was then going full steam ahead with the development of the M100 SpaceJet and certification of the M90 SpaceJet, previously known as the MRJ90.

But in March 2020, the COVID-19 global pandemic exploded. By June, MHI put the SpaceJet program in “suspense.” All operations outside Japan were closed and hundreds of employees were laid off. Flight testing in Washington State was terminated. MITAC’s headquarters at Nagoya Airport was shuttered and funding was reduced by 99%. The future of the SpaceJet program is in doubt. MHI says only it will “reassess” during its current fiscal year ending next March 31.

But MHI continued with the CRJ acquisition. After the close, it was renamed MHIRJ.

During the ensuing year, MHIRJ continues to support the global CRJ fleet. It also launched a new advisory/consulting business that encompasses mainline jets, airlines and airports.

Summary
  • CRJ customers saw business as usual following the close.
  • Pivoting from SpaceJet to advisory-consulting work.
  • With SpaceJet in limbo, MHI grows acquisition business.

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Pontifications: Embraer’s China ambitions

March 22, 2021, © Leeham News: Embraer wants to become a big player in China.

By Scott Hamilton

“We see a huge market potential there,” said Arjan Meijer, CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, in an interview with Nikkei Asia. The news outlet continued, “The company expects worldwide demand for 5,500 jets with up to 150 seats over the next 10 years. A third of that will come from Asia, with a large part of it from China, Meijer added.”

However, China presents risks and few rewards to companies wishing to gain a significant foothold. This is especially true for commercial aviation companies. China has high ambitions for the commercial aviation industry. Partnering with China in this sector produced more heartbreak than success.

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Pontifications: 2020 Retrospective–the worst ever seen

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 21, 2020, © Leeham News: This is my last Pontification of 2020. I’ll be off between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

It’s only fitting to look back at what is the worst year in commercial aviation—ever.

I’ve just completed my 41st year in this industry. I’ve seen two Gulf Wars, SARS, 9/11, the Great Recession and several economic cycles.

Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas exited the commercial airliner business.

I’ve seen three groundings: the McDonnell Douglas DC-10, Boeing 787 and 737 MAX. I’ve been on site of two significant crashes: the American Airlines DC-10 in Chicago and Delta Air Lines’ 727 in Dallas. I flew over a third, a Delta L-1011 in Dallas the day after it happened.

I worked for the first new airline certified by the Civil Aeronautics Board in 40 years, the first Midway. I also went through one bankruptcy and one merger, each part of the deregulation shake-out.

As a reporter, I covered some of the business giants, including Bob Crandall, Herb Kelleher, John Leahy and others.

It’s been a great four decades.

But nothing compares to the global industry disaster of 2020.

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The 717 and A220, Part 2: Operational economics comparison

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction  

December 10, 2020, © Leeham News: Last week, we introduced the Boeing 717 and its closest replacement size-wise, the Airbus A220-100. Delta, a major 717 customer, is accelerating the replacement of the 717 with the A220-100 under the pressure of the COVID19 pandemic.

We use our performance model to understand why. What are the gains when going from the 717 to an A220-100?

Delta Airlines Boeing 717-2BD landing at LaGuardia. Source: Wikipedia.

Summary
  • The 717 version of the DC-9 architecture produced a rugged and well-liked short-haul airliner. It’s five abreast cabin is preferred over the six-abreast Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.
  • It’s size-wise in the same 115 seat bracket as the 15 years younger Airbus A220-100. It’s 40 years old airframe architecture holds up well compared to the modern A220.
  • The engines of the two are also 15 years apart. But the Rolls-Royce BR715 of the 717 was originally designed to fly on fast business jets, necessitating a low by-pass ratio design. This is a handicap when used on lower speed airliners. It shows against the high bypass ratio Pratt & Whitney PW1500G of the A220.

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Lessors to Take Growing Share of Fleeting the Future

By Kathryn B. Creedy

Air Lease Executive Chair Steven Udvar Hazy expects lessors to play a larger role in aircraft fleeting in the future, according to comments made during yesterday’s Aviation Week Fireside Chat with the lessor.

“I don’t see lessors going below 40%,” he told Air Transport World Editor Karen Walker. “I see it creeping up to perhaps 50% or 55% and that includes operating leases and various other exotic mechanisms.”

Udvar Hazy pointed to the poor financial shape of the world’s airlines which have used all their current levers to increase liquidity to ride out the Covid 19 crisis.

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Airbus integrates the last pieces of the CSeries from Bombardier

September 3, 2020, © Leeham News: Airbus and its subsidiary Satair announced today it has integrated one of the last pieces of Bombardier’s engagement with the A220, the spare parts distribution.

Airbus acquired Bombardier’s part of the A220 aircraft program in January, but Bombardier continued to purchase, stock, sell and distribute the A220 spare parts. From the 1st of July, this is handled by Satair, part of the Airbus group, to give airlines with Airbus aircraft a single point of contact for spares part services.

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European Regionals Face Hostile Operating Environment

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By Kathryn B. Creedy

Third in a Series. Previous articles:

Introduction

Aug. 31, 2020, (c) Leeham News: European regionals face far greater challenges than Covid and, sadly, much of what is happening to the industry is beyond its control. The result is similar to failures seen in the U.S.  Flybe’s recent loss resulted from pre-Covid problems which also led to the pre-Covid failures of such airlines as Flybmi and Cobalt.

The failures illustrate, however, the three reasons why European regionals are so fragile – low-cost competition, geography, and challenging government policy.

 

 

 

 

 

Flybe is just the latest of many regionals to cease operations owing to harsh conditions in Europe.

Summary
  • Government Policies Hardest on Regionals
  • LCC Competition Challenging
  • Consumer Protections Crushing
  • Turboprops Have Large Role

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