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Mitsubishi expected to pause SpaceJet development

Aviation Updates Philippines – Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. is planning to freeze development on the SpaceJet regional airliner program after suffering from financial problems amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Reuters reported the parent company of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation is expected to announce the decision, along with a medium-term business plan, next week on October 30, 2020. The demand for this new aircraft could not be seen for the time being.

According to sources from Kyodo News, Mitsubishi is also 'scaling back' employees and finances for the development of the regional airliner, which is currently the first indigenous aircraft since the release of NAMC YS-11 half a century ago.

In a Yahoo News Japan article, international journalist Kosuke Takahashi commented: "It has become clear once again how difficult it is to develop a domestic jet airliner, both technically and cost-effectively. It is a disappointing result because it is a business that was expected as a next-generation regional jet airliner."

The Mitsubishi SpaceJet, formerly known as the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, was first unveiled in 2013 and performed its first test flight two years later. Due to the longer-than-expected certification and development processes, the project has been delayed six times already, as reported by AeroTime. It is expected to enter service in 2021 or 2022, at least for now.

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