Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will freeze the development of SpaceJet, its regional jet program, amidst the pandemic.
Two sources within the company claim that all plans for SpaceJet are going to be put on hold, Reuters reported on October 23, 2020.
In a statement earlier the same day, the company said it is “considering various options” regarding the program, and that on October 30, a medium-term strategy with concrete plans for the jet are going to be revealed.
Japanese media reports that the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated crisis is to blame. It may be not the only reason, as at the end of its fiscal year in March 2020 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries reported its first yearly operational loss in two decades, caused mainly by the development of the troubled jet.
The deliveries of the SpaceJet were already delayed six times, as the aircraft was initially expected to be operational by 2013. The last delay, announced in late January 2020, pushed the entry into service to late 2021. Although since then the airplane has completed its first flight test in a certifiable final configuration, the coronacrisis may have been the last nail for the promising jet.