Mitsubishi Hits the Reset Button on Its Regional Jet Program

Newly introduced SpaceJet family of RJs is designed to offer class-leading cabin space and operating economics.

Mitsubishi SpaceJet M90
The SpaceJet M90 regional jet is scheduled to enter service soon.Courtesy Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp.

No, it's not a futuristic rocket ship for the burgeoning space-tourism market. Instead, Mitsubishi Aircraft today announced its SpaceJet family of aircraft because these regional jets will be so spacious inside.

SpaceJet is the new commercial name for a product family that includes the SpaceJet M90 (previously known by the developmental designation of MRJ90) and a new member, the SpaceJet M100, a larger version of the regional twinjet.

The SpaceJet family of aircraft, Mitsubishi says, “is designed to address demand in the underserved regional jet market by delivering ultimate comfort for passengers and unmatched aircraft performance with more profit potential for airlines.”

Ahead of this month's Paris Air Show, Mitsubishi unveiled the brand name evoking a retro-futuristic flair and outlined plans to get the long-delayed program back on track.

“The Mitsubishi SpaceJet family represents our plan to redefine the business of regional air travel,” said Hisakazu Mizutani, president of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. “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.”

The SpaceJet M100, Mitsibishi, says, offers the most spacious and comfortable cabin in its class “to drive improved passenger experience, designed to boost airline passenger loyalty through a superior experience.”

“Having evolved from a concept study for the now retired MRJ70 designation, the SpaceJet M100 is designed to adapt to specific market needs while maintaining strength of performance; the SpaceJet M100 is perfectly matched to the United States and global markets alike. In the US market, the aircraft is optimized to be scope clause compliant in the 65-76 seat, three-class cabin configuration,” the company said.

It can also be flexibly configured for other global market needs up to 88 seats single class, with what Mitsubishi calls attractive operating economics throughout its range of configurations

Mitsubishi plans to start deliveries of the SpaceJet M90 next year following certification in Japan and in the United States. Formal launch of the SpaceJet M100 program, meanwhile, is expected later this year.

“The regional market is an attractive one, full of untapped growth potential,” said Alex Bellamy, Chief Development Officer, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation. “Millions of people around the world rely on regional air travel to get to where they need to go. There is no reason that their experience as passengers should not be as good as or better than on a mainline flight. The SpaceJet family provides the missing link in a curb-to-curb experience for the next generation of travelers, while bringing a higher level of value to a neglected and undervalued market segment.”

The company will debut the SpaceJet M100 cabin interior at the Paris Air Show from June 17 through June 20.