Mitsubishi Aircraft’s SpaceJet program has lost a major customer. The Japanese planemaker announced on Thursday (31) that Trans States Holding, owner of three airlines, has canceled a purchase agreement of 100 M90 jets, of which 50 units were firm orders.
The alleged reason for ending the deal involves the fact that the M90 does not meet the scope clause agreed between the pilot unions of the three major US airlines – its takeoff weight and passenger capacity exceed the limit set by the agreement.
“TSH has long been a proponent of our aircraft program and we look forward to continuing discussions regarding a potential order for the SpaceJet M100 product,” said Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation President Hisakazu Mizutani”, referring to the new version released by the company with up to 76 seats.
“When we established our contract with TSH, the outlook on the regional market was very different. Scope clause has not relaxed as anticipated,” admitted the CEO.
Trans States was the second customer to close a deal with Mitsubishi ten years ago. Its three regional airlines, GoJet Airlines, Compass Airlines and Trans States Airlines service American, United and Delta with a fleet of CRJ700, ERJ-145 and E175 jets.
The group also placed a similar order for Embraer’s E175-E2 in 2014, but the deal was put on hold as the Brazilian jet did not meet the scope clause either.
The development of SpaceJet, formerly MRJ, is extremely late. Launched in 2008 with a homemade order from All Nippon Airways, the Japanese jet should have been in service in 2013, but is still in the testing phase for certification of the old MRJ90 88-seat M90.
Mitsubishi is expected to deliver the first aircraft to ANA in 2020, twelve years after the contract was closed. The M100 version has an even farther prediction: it is expected for 2023 only.