Boeing and Airbus, whose last few new airplanes were years behind delivery schedules, have a new companion in detention for being tardy.
Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft Co. announced this week that its MRJ regional jet’s first flight and first delivery have been delayed by more than a year. The company said more time is needed to iron out wrinkles in the supply system and to carry out further testing.
The company has sold just 70 of the 70-to-100-seat twin-engine planes.
The first production aircraft will now be delivered in the summer or fall of 2015 instead of the first quarter of 2014, and the plane’s first flight will happen in late 2013 instead of in the second quarter of this year.
Mitsubishi had predicted a market for 5,000 or so regional jets the size of the MRJ, but the market for regional jets has died off in the last two years because of high fuel costs and a glut of smaller jets already in regional airline fleets.
The MRJ is designed to substantially improve fuel economy over those jets because of new geared turbofan engines from Pratt and Whitney and advanced aerodynamics.