SkyWest INC has finalized aircraft orders for 100 Mitsubishi Regional Jets, with options for 100 more. According to the press release SkyWest can anticipate those orders to start in 2017, and the options to start delivery in 2021.
Currently the new Mitsubishi Aircraft company is a partnership between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Toyota Motor Corp. Fuji Heavy Industries will lend expertise with their extensive aerospace experience. Fuji Heavy Industries has been involved in various aerospace projects including the A380, 787, and 777.
The current status of the MRJ, in 2010 the aircraft had entered the drawing phase for production. The first aircraft was supposedly started in April 2011. The first flight is scheduled to occur in 2013, with the first delivery in 2015.
One of the significant advances made in the aircraft will be the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G Geared Turbo Fan. Testing on the new engine is almost complete and it is anticipated to enter production starting 2013.
Where these aircraft will go still remains a mystery as Delta just announced the CRJ 900 to be its primary large regional jet of the future. The recent order for 900’s will also remove any scope room for additional large RJ’s. Also, United and AA’s new TA prohibits Regional aircraft beyond 86,000 lbs. This poses a problem considering the MRJ 90 STD was supposed to be rated to 87,303 lbs Max Gross Weight, the MRJ 90ER 90,378 lbs MGTOW, and the MRJ 90 LR 94,358 lbs MGTOW. It is speculated that the aircraft could be re-rated for the 86,000 lb limitation. Currently the only Scope that would allow it is US Airways.