After large losses, parent company Mitsubishi is hitting the brakes. It cuts the budget for the Spacejet project in half. Development of the smaller M100 version is halted for the time being.
Financial year 2019/20 was not a good one for Mitsubishi Heayy Industries. The Japanese industrial giant fell deep into the red. It is its first loss in 20 years. The loss amounted to 312 billion yen or the equivalent of 2.7 billion euros.
A prestige project is to blame for the bad result. Mitsubishi Heayy Industries made a loss of 263 billion yen, or the equivalent of 2.3 billion euros, with the regional aircraft Spacejet in the financial year that ended in March. The worst thing about it is that in view of the corona crisis and airline savings programs, the outlook for the coming years is no better.
«Proceed at an appropriate rate»
This is why Mitsubishi Heayy Industries is now hitting the brakes. The group is cutting the budget of its subsidiary Mitsubishi Aircraft for the current financial year 2020/21 in half to 60 billion yen or 520 million euros. It will continue a detailed review of the Spacejet timetable «in view of the difficult market conditions facing commercial aviation and the setbacks in flight tests», according to the presentation of the annual results.
At a press conference, Group CEO Seiji Izumisawa became more specific: «We will continue with the project on an appropriate scale, taking into account the difficult circumstances facing our group», he said according to the Japan Times newspaper. So far, the first delivery of a space jet was planned for early 2021 – which already represents a delay of eight years.
Product for the regional market in the USA
That’s not all. Mitsubishi also puts the development of the smaller Spacejet version M100 on hold. It was formerly called MRJ70 and is explicitly aimed at the regional market in the USA. But the Japanese expect little momentum from there in the coming years. However, the 34.5 meter long version, which can carry a maximum of 88 passengers, will not be abandoned. The project is constantly being reviewed, Mitsubishi said.
The first version is the Spacejet M90, formerly MRJ90. It will be 35.8 metres long and can carry up to 92 passengers.