28 NOVEMBER 2016
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The fourth Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation MRJ-90 flight-test aircraft, seen as a possible contender for services into London City Airport, made its first flight in Japan last week.
It is Japan's first commercial airliner since the YS-11, built by the Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation.
With 70-90 seats, the sleek MRJ-90 could join the regional-jet line-up which presently includes the Bombardier CSeries, Embraer E2 and Sukhoi Superjet.
Mitsubishi said the test aircraft flew for 2hr 4min after taking off from Nagoya Airfield. Two MRJ-90s have already been transferred to the US, where the majority of flight testing is being held toward the regional jet’s certification.
Two more MRJ-90s are scheduled for transfer to the US flight-testing base by the end of this year, with the first delivery to launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) planned for the second half of 2018. A fifth MRJ-90 flight test aircraft will remain in Japan.
In all, Mitsubishi plans to conduct 2,500hr of flight testing with the five MRJ-90 aircraft. So far, it has conducted about 250hr.
A first flight of the MRJ-70, the smaller variant in the MRJ programme, is expected in the second half of next year.
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