Mitsubishi and Bombardier set to close Regional Jet Program deal

Despite all the rumors suggesting the failure of the deal due to the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi has made public the day in which the acquisition of Bombardier’s Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) program will take place, marking an end to a transaction that was first announced last June.

Iberia Regional Air Nostrum's CRJ 1000. Photo by Jero Vida | AeroNewsX

In a statement, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has said that all necessary conditions have been met by both parties, ensuring the closure of the $550 million agreement on June 1st 2020. From then on, the new program will be operated by a newly created group entity called MHI RJ Aviation Group (MHIRJ), which will be in charge of the maintenance, support, refurbishment, marketing and sales activities for the CRJ aircraft, as well as the type certificates. Other CRJ related services and support network located throughout the US and Canada will also be acquired by the new Japanese subsidiary MHIRJ, while spare parts will continue to be distributed from depots in Chicago (US) and Frankfurt (Germany).

The deal, which also contemplates the assumption of $200 million worth of liabilities, primarily targets complimenting Mitsubishi’s commercial aircraft business division as well as providing support solutions to the whole aircraft industry worldwide including the CRJ Series aircraft. However, the Montréal Mirabel CRJ’s production line will remain part of Bombardier until its closure during the second half of this year, when all outstanding orders are expected to be delivered.

Another key aspect of this transaction points out the relevance of MHI’s regional jet program “SpaceJet” (formerly called “Mitsubishi Regional Jet MRJ-90”), also Japan’s first commercial passenger jet program. This is expected to take-off in 2021 after being postponed multiple times, with ANA being its launch-customer. Moreover, the program aims to have a stake both in the North American and European markets starting 2023, although it is yet unknown how the current crisis could alter those plans. This state-of-the-art jet has a range of 3,700km and can carry up to 88 passengers in its largest variant.

ANA's Mitsubishi Regional Jet MRJ90. Photo by Matt Lino | AeroNewsX

With this deal, a new era begins for the Canadian producer as it distances itself from commercial aviation and focuses on its globally leading railway industry. Other sales that manifested its intention to divest from the industry occurred last year with the Q Series being purchased by Viking Air, who renamed it “De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited”. Additionally, earlier this year, the remaining part of the C Series was entirely acquired by Airbus and Quebec’s government. This leaves the Challenger and the Learjet as the only business jet units to be produced by the company.

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