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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, October 18, 2018

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Mitsubishi Regional Jet successfully takes to skies

First domestically produced commercial jetliner

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TOKYO, Japan - Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), Japan's first domestically produced commercial jetliner, Wednesday successfully completed its maiden test flight after years of postponement.

The jetliner took off early Wednesday morning from the city of Nagoya for an hour long flight over central Japan before returning to the base.

It is an important milestone for Japan, which is keep to redevelop its aerospace industry, which last produced the 64-seat YS-11 over five decades back. Following its defeat in World War II, Japan had suspended making planes. Aspiring to enter the league of top-tier in the aircraft industry, MRJ has been developed by a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The short haul commercial airliner, which has so far secured 223 firm orders, is slated to begin delivery in June 2017 to Japan's biggest carrier, ANA Holdings.

Mitsubishi is targeting to sell more than 2,000 aircraft to major airlines around the world. A number of carriers including Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines and Skywest are among airlines that have already firmed orders for the jet that will seat seventy to ninety passengers and cost close to $50 million.

The jetliner has several game-changing features like state-of-the-art aerodynamic design and noise analysis technology. It is also designed to significantly cut fuel consumption and emissions.

Mitsubishi claims the MRJ would consume one fifth less fuel than aircraft of similar size with its new-generation engines from Pratt and Whitney, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

MRJ website describes is the next generation regional jet which will offer both top-class operational economy and outstanding cabin comfort.

The MRJ will have a four-abreast seat configuration, with large overhead bins, and also feature a slim seat that offers heightened comfort to passengers. It is designed to enter a market segment in which it will be pitted against Embraer SA of Brazil and Bombardier of Canada

The project is being led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which together with other major Japanese manufacturers, already makes a range of parts and systems for Boeing and Airbus jetliners.

But in the case of MRJ a large share of the components have been source from leading foreign suppliers.

Japan's biggest carmaker, Toyota Motor Corp, and largest trading company, Mitsubishi Corp, each own a 10 percent stake in the MRJ venture.>BNN

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