Mitsubishi has announced that interest in the SpaceJet (previously refered to as the Mitsubishi RegionalJet) has grown “exponentially” at the Paris Air Show due to the unveiling of a new version. The new variant, called the M100 designed specifically for the US market is 1.1 meters longer than the now cancelled MRJ90 whilst being 1.3m shorter than the M90 variant.
So far there are already commitments for 15 M100 aircraft from airlines, which has taken the manufacturer seemingly by surprise.
In an interview with Air Transport World Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation chief development officer Alex Bellamy stated that whilst they didn’t plan on making any announcements regarding sales, “the interest has gone exponetial, so somebody moved quickly.”
One of the most important factors for the aircraft is sales in the all important American regional market, which is governed by the so called scope clauses, which for example requires an aircraft with less 76 seats to have an MTOW (maximum takeoff weight) limit of 86,000lbs.
The regional air route market in America, whilst generally run by franchised carriers wants cabins as close to the “main” airlines product as possible. This means that the aircraft needs to fit as many seats as possible in a small aircraft whilst often still needing to provide first class seating.
Mitsubishi recently purchased the Bombardier CRJ program and will remove it from production next year, mainly to make space in the market for their new jets.
Currently the only other jet that is available to order which also meets this scope clause requirement for aircraft with less than 76 seats is the Embrear E-170 series, specifically it’s legacy variants. It is hoped by Embrear that their new E175-E2 will meet the clause, with its entry into service delayed until 2021 from 2020 for this reason of being overweight at current.
Nick Ashwell-Rice has worked in aviation and defence journalism since 2014 whilst also maintaining a career outside of the industry. He has been Editor-in-Chief at Talking Aero since its inception