When ANA announced in 2009 that it would order 15 Mitsubishi MRJ regional jets, the press release noted that the first deliveries would occur in 2013. We are now three years past that date, and the planes are nowhere near delivery.
But no matter, the first MRJ test plane is finally flying , and the company believes it should be ready for first delivery to ANA in 2018. Perhaps as soon as 2019, you'll see an MRJ aircraft operating as United Express, American Eagle or Delta Connection. I say "perhaps" because the MRJ90, the first plane Mitsubishi is producing, is larger than today's regional jets. That is a problem because American, Delta and United all have rules that govern how big their regional jets can be. And under today's guidelines, none can operate the MRJ90. (For more information about why, read this Aviation Week story.)
There is an MRJ70 coming, which is smaller and could work as a regional airplane. But it won't be ready by 2019.
Anyways, now that we have the background out of the way, I wanted to share some photographs I took last week of an MRJ mockup. It was transported via ship from Japan to the United States. I caught up with it in a parking lot in Charlotte, during a conference.
Let's take a tour.
The plane has unusually large windows for a regional jet.
At least in this format, it is bright and airy.
Here's a three-row mockup of regular economy. There are two seats on each side of the aisle.
Here's what the mockup looks like from the outside.
Bins are not gigantic, but they can fit most bags. Not all wheels first, though.
I admire this fake lavatory. Great detail, right? There's even toilet paper.
Here's the back galley.
And a fake door.
Here are a couple of first class seats. Mitsubishi expects first class will be in a 1-2 configuration.
And finally, here is the ceiling. I include the photo because a Mitsubishi rep says it was designed to mimic Mt. Fuji's curves. How about that?