October 1, 2016 / 8:46 AM / 2 years ago

Mitsubishi Aircraft notifies possible delay in jet delivery

TOKYO, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Japan’s All Nippon Airways Co has been told by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp, a unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, that there is a risk of a possible delay in the first delivery of its regional jet from around the middle of 2018.

If the delivery of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) is extended, this would mark a fifth delay and may raise concerns about Mitsubishi’s sales activities.

All Nippon, a unit of ANA Holdings Inc, received a notice of a risk of delay in delivery due to technical reasons, a company spokeswoman said on Saturday. All Nippon is set to be the first company to receive the MRJ.

She added that Mitsubishi did not provide its projection on how long the delivery may be pushed back.

A spokesman for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd said it has not decided to delay the delivery and did not confirm whether it has sent such a notice.

Japan’s Nikkei business daily reported earlier on Saturday that the first delivery is likely to be delayed to 2019 or afterwards, reflecting a revision in design.

The first test model of the 100-seat MRJ, which made its maiden test flight last November, arrived in late September in Moses Lake in the U.S. state of Washington for further test flights.

The MRJ’s development went into full gear in 2008 and was originally scheduled for delivery in 2013. Mitsubishi Aircraft last December announced the fourth delay in delivery by about a year from April to June 2017.

Demand for regional jets with 100 seats or less are projected to grow from now on and Mitsubishi Aircraft is aiming to win 1,000 orders for the MRJ.

The MRJ represents Japan’s long-held ambition to reestablish a commercial aircraft industry that was dismantled by the United States after Japan’s defeat in World War Two.

The MRJ has secured 447 orders including ones that may be cancelled. (Reporting by Maki Shiraki, Writing by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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