Mitsubishi, Bombardier to close CRJ deal on 1 June

Japanese manufacturer gets global supply, MRO network to support regional jet programme

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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Bombardier said Thursday (7 May) that they will close their US$500 million deal on 1 June for Mitsubishi to acquire the Canadian company’s  Canadair Regional Jet Programme. The original deal was announced in 2019. The new entity will be called MHI RJ Aviation Group (MHIRJ) and will commence upon closing, the companies said in a statement.

The deal is not really about regional jets per se, but the need for MHI to be able to cobble together a support network for its SpaceJet that has been under development for years. As part of the acquisition, MHI acquires the maintenance, support, refurbishment, marketing, and sales activities for the CRJ Series aircraft, along with the type certificates. This includes the CRJ related services and support network mainly located in Mirabel, Québec, and Toronto, Ontario in Canada, Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Tucson, Arizona in the United States. CRJ Spare parts will continue to be distributed from depots in Chicago, Illinois and Frankfurt, Germany.

Production of the CRJ family will stop with the deal now finalised. (PHOTO: Bombardier)

The companies said the new entity will “provide a holistic servicing and support solution for the global aircraft industry including the CRJ Series aircraft, and eventually, for the Mitsubishi SpaceJet family of regional jets and is considered a major step for MHI as a global competitor in the regional jet sector.

The International Air Transport Association says domestic and regional travel will restart faster than international traffic and could benefit manufacturers of narrowbody aircraft. (SOURCE: IATA)

The deal may also gain importance for MHI and its SpaceJet due to the COVID-19 pandemic because analysts worldwide say domestic and regional aviation using narrowbody jets is more likely to recover from the shutdown in aviation faster than widebodies and international travel. The SpaceJet, which was originally named the MRJ-90, was initially not in compliance with scope clauses in the US, which led to the cancellation of a planned sale of 50 jets.

MHI went back to the drawing board, further delaying the regional jet, and in late 2019 announced it would transition to the scope-compliant SpaceJet M100 aircraft. “We have since shifted our strategy to be responsive to the market realities in the US, in partnership with our airline customers. We are confident that the SpaceJet M100 presents us with a market-leading aircraft for North America,” MHI said at the time.

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