Updated: Jan 11
In a blow to Mitsubishi Aircraft’s goal to crack the North American regional jet market, the company announced Thursday that Trans States Airlines, and early program supporter, has cancelled its order for up to 100 SpaceJet M90s.
Today, the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has announced that U.S. regional carrier Trans States Holdings, Inc. (TSH) has cancelled a firm order for 50 SpaceJet M90s and an option for 50 more. Trans States Airlines operates on behalf of United Airlines as United Express. The cancellation has been attributed to “scope clauses” in mainline union pilot contracts, which limit the number and size of aircraft which can be “outsourced” to third party operators. Currently, union contracts limit the size of regional aircraft to 76 seats and a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 86,000 lbs. The SpaceJet M90 can seat between 76-92, which can meet the seating restrictions in a two-class configuration, but the aircraft has an MTOW of over 90,000 lbs. The extra weight is essential for the aircraft to carry enough fuel and passengers to meet its benchmark capacity and range requirements. In today’s announcement, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation’s President, Hisakazu Mizutani stated,
"TSH has been a long-time proponent of our aircraft program and we look forward to continuing discussions regarding a potential order for the SpaceJet M 100 product. When we established our contract with TSH, the outlook on the regional market was very different. Scope clause has not relaxed as anticipated. We have since shifted our strategy to be responsive to the market realities in the U.S., in partnership with our airline customers. We are confident that the SpaceJet M 100 presents us with a market-leading aircraft for North America.”
The SpaceJet M 90 is currently undergoing rigorous testing for certification and last June Mitsubishi Aircraft announced a new derivative, the SpaceJet M 100, which will meet U.S. scope clause requirements. To date, the company has booked orders of up to 115 SpaceJet M 100’s from North American Customers.
Source(s): Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, Trans States Airlines