One more delay for Mitsubishi's SpaceJet

Tokyo, Japan - Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation considers delaying its long-awaited regional jet once again. The Japanese manufacturer plans to deliver the aircraft next year or maybe later. This is the sixth schedule delay.

SpaceJet, which is also known as Mitsubishi Regional Jet, is set for delivery to the launch customer All Nippon Airways by the mid-year according to the current plan. The Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation had planned to begin flight testing with the redesigned jet last June. But technical problems forced the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries subsidiary to delay it.

Recent progress revealed that the planemaker wouldn't be able to obtain safety certification from the Japanese regulator before 2021. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is now preparing to announce the sixth delay on Feb. 6 during the presentation of the yearly figures of 2019, sources familiar with the matter said.

Last year in October, Trans States Holdings, the parent company of three regional US carriers, canceled an order for 100 SpaceJets due to the repeated delays. The program was launched in 2003 with the support of the Japanese government to develop the first homegrown jetliner of Japan. The program has been led by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation since 2004.

The manufacturer initially planned to deliver the first aircraft in 2013, but several setbacks have already caused five delays to date. The development cost of the aircraft has raised to $7 billion, $1,5 billion more than the initial estimation.