The long-awaited Mitsubishi Regional Jet made its maiden flight on Wednesday, marking Japan’s first foray into commercial aviation in more than 50 years.
The MRJ completed a one-hour flight from Nagoya Airport to officially start the test program for Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp.'s 100-seat regional jet after three years of delays. The jetliner will compete directly with the new Bombardier C Series regional twinjet as well as products from Embraer.
The MRJ is Japan's first commercial passenger airplane since the 64-seat twin turboprop Nihon YS-11 entered service 50 years ago.
The first MRJ is scheduled for delivery in June 2017 to Japan's biggest carrier, ANA Holdings. So far Mitsubishi has secured 223 firm orders plus 184 options, the biggest order coming from U.S. regional airline group SkyWest.
The MRJ is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s new PW1200G turbofans and features the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion cockpit.