Japanese machinery maker Mitsubishi Heavy is using a
Pratt & Whitney engine for its planned small jet, both companies
said Tuesday, in what will be the first ``made in Japan'' passenger
aircraft in three decades.
If developed, the jet would likely compete against mid-sized jet
makers Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) of Canada and Brazil's Embraer
SA, as well as companies in China and Russia developing jets.
The twin-engine jet, which seats about 70 to 90 and is set for
delivery as early as 2012, is designed to consume about 20 per cent
less fuel than rival jets because they are made with lightweight
carbon fiber composite, Mitsubishi Heavy says.
Mitsubishi Heavy president Kazuo Tsukuda said the company is
hoping to get a 20 per cent market share of about the 5,000 regional
jets expected to be in demand in 20 or 30 years, which is about the
life span of a jet model.
``We feel strongly that we will be able to create an aircraft
that will have an impact,'' he told reporters.
It is Japan's first nationally funded project for domestically
manufactured passenger aircraft since the YS-11 turboprop airplane,
whose production ended in 1973.
Mitsubishi's jet, the first regional jet to adopt composite
materials for its airframe on a significant scale, will be powered
by Pratt & Whitney's next-generation Geared Turbofan engines, the
U.S.-based Pratt & Whitney is a unit of United Technologies.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. had also been in talks with
General Electric Co.'s GE Aviation unit and Rolls-Royce PLC about
the selection of the engine for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, or MRJ,
Mitsubishi said it will begin offering the MRJ for sale to
potential airline customers worldwide, and will make the final
decision on whether to go ahead with the project by spring next
The jet will cost between 3 billion yen ($25.6 million) to four
billion yen ($34.1 million), and the first flight is set for 2011,
according to Tokyo-based Mitsubishi.
Demand for smaller jets with 60-to-100 seats is expected to rise
over the next 20 years in regional markets. Mitsubishi's main target
markets are North America, Europe and Japan.
Mitsubishi Heavy has a track record in the aerospace industry,
supplying composite wing parts for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.