Mitsubishi MRJ airplane

Mitsubishi Heavy Delays Delivery of First Jet Made in Japan

Dec. 24, 2015
The plane's system software had to be upgraded and its fuselage strengthened, Mitsubishi said.

TOKYO — Mitsubishi Heavy (IW 1000/129) said Thursday it was postponing delivery of the first made-in-Japan passenger jet, a little more than a month after its maiden test flight marked a fresh start for the country's plane-building sector.

The company cited “several issues” discovered after the November flight for delaying shipments by one year to the second quarter of 2018.

The plane’s system software had to be upgraded and its fuselage strengthened, Mitsubishi said.

Last month’s takeoff came about half a century after the last Japanese-made commercial plane took to the skies.

The two-engine MRJ marked a new chapter for the aviation sector, which last built a commercial airliner in 1962 — the YS-11 turboprop that was discontinued about a decade later.

Japan and its MRJ jet are competing with other regional passenger jet manufacturers such as Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier.

Mitsubishi Heavy unveiled the jet — which is approximately 115 feet long and seats about 80 passengers — in October last year and has received more than 400 orders.

It had previously planned to make the first delivery to Japan’s All Nippon Airways in 2017.

The short-to-medium-haul regional jet was backed by the Japanese government and a consortium of major firms including Toyota.

Automaker Honda is also developing a small private jet in the United States, which was unveiled in Japan earlier this year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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