Mitsubitshi MRJ Plane to Secure First Southeast Asian Customer?
AirAsia is thinking about purchasing Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’s jets, CEO Tony Fernandes tells Nikkei. The Malaysia-based budget carrier looks ready to throw its support behind the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, Japan's first passenger plane project since the 1960s. At the same time, AirAsia is seeking support from Japanese regulators to obtain more slots at Japanese airports.
Mitsubishi Aircraft, the Japanese engineering group's aviation unit, has delayed deliveries of the MRJ five times from the initial target of 2013. The current goal is mid-2020.
Mitsubishi Heavy last week announced it would inject $1.9 billion of capital into the jet program, seeking to resolve the unit's excess liabilities. ANA Holdings, Japan Airlines, and other airlines have already placed MRJ orders.
AirAsia's Japan subsidiary is based in Aichi Prefecture, where the MRJ is under development. Fernandes said his company would decide how many jets to purchase depending on the price. The carrier is "waiting for Mitsubishi to make an offer."
Fernandes' group is currently awaiting deliveries of 100 Airbus A330neo widebody jets, which are expected to start at the end of 2019. The company has been planning to purchase smaller planes to serve airports on islands around the region. The MRJ, which can seat 70 or 90 passengers, is considered a fit for this.
Source : NIKKEI Asian Review