Paris, France - Mitsubishi Aircraft is planning to offer a 70-seat variant (M100) of its re-branded SpaceJet (formerly MRJ) to the market in 2023.
The new, redesigned version of the Mitsubishi aircraft's long-delayed regional jet will have 65 to 88 seats, compared with the previously planned 90-seat version.
With this smaller new design, the Japanese aircraft manufacturer targets the U.S. regional aircraft market which is dominated by the Embraer's 70-seat E175 jet.
The Major US carriers such as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are not allowed to operate regional jets with their subsidiaries due to the "Scope Clauses" signed with pilot unions.
A scope clause is part of a contract signed between the airlines and pilot unions, which restricts the number and size of the aircraft that may be flown by the regional subsidiaries of those airlines.
The goal of the "Scope Clause" is to prevent the jobs of the union pilots from being outsourced.
Plans for a 100-seat-variant, SpaceJet M200 were also revealed by Mitsubishi aircraft at the Paris Air Show.
The manufacturer introduced the interior of SpaceJet for the first time.
The seats of the aircraft are wider than the other jets in the same class, as the manufacturer stated during the presentation.
"The Mitsubishi SpaceJet family represents our plan to redefine the business of regional air travel," said Hisakazu Mizutani, President of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation.
"This is a commercial segment where we see great opportunity. As we prepare for entry-into-service for the SpaceJet M90, we are also announcing the SpaceJet M100 – the result of our research and development during the past few years and the answer to the regional market's current and future needs. These products mark our dedication to a segment in desperate need of change that will allow airlines to enhance the satisfaction of their passengers and significantly improve their business performance," Mr. Mizutani added.
Mitsubishi's SpaceJet will be powered by new generation fuel-efficient engines from Pratt & Whitney. The American engine manufacturer is also the supplier for the Embraer's E-2 jets.
The Japanese manufacturer aims to deliver the 90-seat variant M90 in mid-2020 to the launch customer Japan Airlines (JAL).