November 10, 2015 / 10:00 AM / 3 years ago

Japan's Mitsubishi Regional Jet to make maiden flight on Wednesday

TOKYO, Nov 10 (Reuters) - The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), Japan’s first commercial jet in half a century, will take to the air for the first time on Wednesday on a test flight, the aircraft’s maker said.

A successful flight at Nagoya Airport in central Japan on Wednesday morning will mark a major step forward for Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp, a unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, in fulfilling a pledge to deliver the first MRJ in June 2017 to Japan’s biggest carrier ANA Holdings.

Mitsubishi also aims to use the $47-million regional jet, which has just under 100 seats, to supplant Canada’s Bombardier Inc as the world’s second biggest maker of smaller passenger jetliners behind Brazil’s Embraer SA.

Japan’s biggest carmaker, Toyota Motor Corp and the country’s largest trading company, Mitsubishi Corp each own a 10 percent stake in the venture.

So far the MRJ has secured 223 firm orders from airline operators, most recently in January, when Japan Airlines ordered 32 planes. The biggest single order - for 100 aircraft - is from Trans State Holdings, a closely-held company that operates three regional U.S. airlines.

The MRJ is Japan’s first commercial passenger aircraft since the 60-seat YS-11 entered service 50-years ago. (Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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