Despite problems in its long development and lack of experience as a regional jet manufacturer, Mitsubishi Aircraft has reached a valuable MOU with Mesa Airlines. The agreement involves an order for 100 SpaceJet M100 planes of which 50 are firm orders and 50 options and are due to be delivered by 2024 – the aircraft is scheduled to be in service by 2023.
“The US mainline carriers are looking for an aircraft that will allow them to provide a consistent, premium passenger experience from their regional to their long-haul fleets,” said Jonathan Ornstein, Chairman and CEO, Mesa Air Group, Inc. Large cabin, comfort, new technology and low operating costs, the Mitsubishi SpaceJet M100 can deliver this premium experience within US scope clause. ”
“As we developed the Mitsubishi SpaceJet family, we knew we had changed the way that passengers and airlines will think about regional travel,” said Hisakazu Mizutani, President Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation. “Mesa Airlines’ selection of the SpaceJet M100 confirms that our aircraft meets current and future needs in this industry, and that airlines are ready to move our discussions forward.”
Announced during the Paris Air Show in June, the SpaceJet M100 is a MRJ70 design review that did not meet the Scope Clause agreed between major US airlines and their pilots.
With changes to maintain good range and capacity and without breaking the 76-seat limits and maximum takeoff weight of 86,000lb, the SpaceJet M100 seeks to differentiate itself from its main rival, Embraer’s largest and heaviest E175-E2.
The Brazilian manufacturer, by contrast, has been betting on relaxing the Scope Clause, but the lack of perspective on this change can be costly – the issue is being discussed by United Airlines and its pilots this month. Embraer has recognized that it may delay the launch of the E175-E2, but without pointing out the absence of customers as a reason for this possible decision.
The first prototype of the E175-E2 is being assembled and is expected to fly by 2019. So far, Embraer has not revealed plans to adapt the jet to the Scope Clause, which is no easy task after all the company decided to offer a larger aircraft. than the predecessor E175-E1. To take off with up to 86,000lb, the Brazilian jet ends up restricted to very small range, unlike the SpaceJet M100.
Mesa Airlines is an Embraer customer with 60 E175-E1 units, plus 84 Bombardier CRJ700 and CRJ900 jets. As is well known, Mitsubishi Aircraft acquired the Canadian jets this year, gaining access to dozens of customers on those aircraft.