MIAMI – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), the largest aerospeace manufacturer in Japan, has announced that it will freeze the development of the SpaceJet regional aircraft.

The manufacturer hopes to refocus on renewable energy and other businesses that it believes will bolster profits and bring US$1.15bn in savings (around JP¥120bn) through aviation related job cuts.

“We will work to review where we stand, make improvements and assess possible program restart” said the manufacturer as they recently posted a 62.5% decline in second-quarter operating profits.

Image courtesy: Mitsubishi

Stunted Development

Initially set to begin operating in 2013 with All Nippon Airways (NH), the program has in the eyes of the Japanese government been viewed as a way to expand the aerospace industry in the country. Despite production delays, the first flight of the SpaceJet M90 took place earlier this year.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic NH was forced to reduce its fleet while a variant of the jet seen as key to winning American orders from airlines like Mesa Airlines (YV) was canceled in March.

Hopefully with the advent of a COVID-19 vaccine and an eventual recovery of the global airline industry the SpaceJet can once again take to the skies.

Featured image: 防衛省 –, CC BY 4.0