Japan and Russia Heating Up Regional Jet Market

Mitsubishi is designing a regional jet called the MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet.) Not only that, the project is getting support (and potentially some funding) from the Japanese government. AVWeb also reports that Toyota has taken a 10% ownership interest in the project.

Mitsubishi plans to offer 70- and 90-seat variants, and hopes to include innovative features that will help it break into the growing market.

The MRJ's competition will mainly be composed of the two regional jet powerhouse dynasties: Bombardier's CRJ and Embraer's ERJ series. Although those companies have quite some time to prepare to deal with the new competition, Aviation Week makes it sound as though Embraer is concerned. Specifically, they relate that Embraer CEO Fred Curado has openly challenged the idea of the Japanese government subsidizing the project as illegal. It will certainly be interesting to see how that side of things progresses.

Japan isn't the only place with regional jet news though. Russia's Sukhoi Superjet 100 just finished the first test run of its SaM146 engines and is almost ready for its first flight. Financial institutions in Russia, France and Italy also recently signed a deal ensuring financing for potential buyers.

This aircraft will have a guaranteed market within the Russian Federation. However, it will also threaten any European or Asian interests currently held by Bombardier and Canadair and which Mitsubishi may be targeting. Both the Japanese and Russian aircraft have the potential to challenge the current CRJ/ERJ domination of the US market. It will be an interesting struggle to watch and we'll keep you posted.