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.
“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.”
June 21, 2021, © Leeham News: MHIRJ Aviation Group said last week its 100,000 sf expansion of MRO facilities is sized to accommodate narrowbody aircraft.
MHIRJ is the former Bombardier CRJ global product support system purchased last year by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
The expansion, valued at $20m, was first disclosed by LNA in its May 31-June 1 one-year anniversary updates.
Ismail Mokabel, Senior Vice President, Head of Aftermarket, told LNA then that MHIRJ would be ready to diversify its aftermarket work beyond the CRJ regional jet after 2023. In a groundbreaking ceremony of the hangar expansion at its Bridgeport (WV) facility June 16, Mokabel disclosed that hangars will be big enough for narrowbody jets.
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By Scott Hamilton
Part 2 of 2. Part 1 appeared here.
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.
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By Scott Hamilton
Part 1 of 2 Parts
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.
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.
By Vincent Valery
May 17, 2021, © Leeham News: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) officially launched the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) program on March 28, 2008, at the end of its 2007 fiscal year. The Japanese industrial conglomerate envisioned the maiden delivery in 2013.
Fast forward 13 years, and the now-called SpaceJet development has been “paused” indefinitely. Most believe MHI effectively canceled the program. There is a possibility MHI might never bring the SpaceJet into passenger service.
LNA investigated MHI’s financial statements since 2005 and annual reports since 2007 to understand the impact of the program on the Group. This article takes a deep dive into the sequence of events, from launch to the COVID-19 pandemic, that led to the current state of affairs for the SpaceJet program.
Jan. 4, 2021, © Leeham News: Beginning today through next week, Leeham News presents its annual Outlook series for the coming year.
We’ve been doing this for years. In recent years, the Outlook reflected continued growth in commercial aviation. The industry had the longest upward tick in the more than three decades I’ve been involved in the sector.
Not this year. As I wrote before the Christmas-New Year’s holiday period, 2020 was the worst year for commercial aviation I’ve ever seen in 41 years.
This year is the beginning of the end of the COVID crisis. Yes, the vaccines began distribution in December, but large spikes in COVID cases began simultaneously and are predicted to climb higher through the first quarter.
Over the coming days, as LNA provides its Outlook for 2021, readers will see what we believe will happen.
Oct. 26, 2020, © Leeham News: It’s earnings call week for Boeing and Airbus.
And Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is said to plan an announcement “freezing” development of the SpaceJet.
Let’s preview these events.
Oct. 12, 2020, © Leeham News: Every year, like clockwork, when Boeing publishes its 20-year Current Market Outlook, there is always another upward revision in forecast demand for new aircraft.
So, when the Chicago-based OEM admits that demand has taken a long-term hit, you know the situation must be dire.
Last week, Boeing belatedly published its annual CMO forecast for global commercial jet production and services. The forecast was quite a comedown as it marked a 2% fall from Boeing’s previous expectations for aircraft demand, with a whopping 10% drop for widebodies and freighters.
Airbus has withheld its 2020 Global Market Forecast while it continues to assess the impact of COVID-19. Read more
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By Judson Rollins, Bjorn Fehrm & Scott Hamilton
Sept. 21, 2020, © Leeham News: Commercial aviation is facing a lost decade due to COVID.
Yes, most forecasts target 2024-2025 as returning to 2019 passenger traffic and aircraft production levels.
However, LNA in July published its own analysis indicating full recovery may not occur until 2028. Breathless headlines notwithstanding, it will take years for vaccines to be widely available and considered safe by enough of the world’s population. Growing concern about vaccine production and distribution capacity through 2024 underscores this view. Even Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said earlier this month that business travel might not fully return for a decade.
Indeed, the 2020s may well be a lost decade for aircraft manufacturers and their supply chains.
By Kathryn B. Creedy
Third in a Series. Previous articles:
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.