Phoenix, Arizona - Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the American regional operator MESA Airlines for the sale of up to100 SpaceJet.
The MoU signed on Sept. 5 calls for a firm order of 50 SpaceJet M100 variant with options for 50 aircraft more.
The first copies of the Japanese manufacturer's 70-seat regional jet are expected to join the US airline's fleet in 2024.
If finalized, the $3.74 billion order by Mesa would boost the sales of the Mitsubishi's long-delayed SpaceJet (formerly MRJ Jet) in the U.S. market.
This year in June, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation rebranded the aircraft that was previously known as MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet).
Japan's SpaceJet has so far accumulated 400 orders mainly from the Japanese airline operators. Due to repeated delays, the aircraft couldn't register new orders since 2016.
With its first commercial jet ever, Mitsubishi Aircraft targets the highly valuable 70-seat jet market in the United States.
The company said it is also in talks with another North American carrier for 15 SpaceJet.
Mitsubishi's SpaceJet comes with two variants, the M100 and M90. M90 is the larger variant of the family, which can accommodate up to 90 passengers.
The SpaceJet M100 is compliant with the US legislation that limits the size of the jets that regional carriers can operate for large airlines. Mesa currently operates 145 regional jets for American Airlines and United Airlines.
SpaceJet has suffered multiple delays and its development cost already exceeded $2 billion. Deliveries to launch customer Japanese All Nippon Airways will begin in 2020.
The MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries) subsidiary Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. says the aircraft consumes 20% less fuel than the current 70/90-seat regional jets thanks to its newer generation geared turbofan engines from Pratt & Whitney.
In June, Mitsubishi acquired Canadian Bombardier's CRJ regional jet program and positioned itself as one of the two major players in the regional jet market along with the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer.