June 19, 2017 / 2:03 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-AIRSHOW-Mitsubishi targets 1,000-plus sales of regional jet in 20 years

PARIS, June 19 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp aims to sell more than 1,000 of its new Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) aircraft by around 2040, aided by expected growth in demand for medium-sized planes.

The company brought Japan’s first passenger aircraft in half a century to the Paris Airshow, confirming that it is on track for first delivery of the 90-seat aircraft in mid-2020 and hoping to show potential customers that progress had been made despite delays and cost increases.

Asked how many planes his company was hoping to sell, Yugo Fukuhara, vice president of sales and marketing at Mitsubishi Aircraft, told Reuters: “More than 1,000. That is the target during a 20-year time period.”

Fukuhara said earlier on Monday that the programme has taken 427 orders so far.

“All customers are committed to the programme and are very supportive,” he said in a reference to the announcement this year that the plane was delayed for two more years to redesign its wiring and meet requirements for certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Launch customer ANA, which has resorted to leasing jets and pushing back the retirement of older aircraft while its awaits the delayed MRJ, said on Sunday that it remains committed to the programme.

Despite these setbacks, Fukuhara said that Mitsubishi would become one of two major regional jet manufacturers in a sector dominated by companies such as Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier. “We see more than 5,000 regional jet deliveries (for the sector) in the next 20 years. This segment of the market is very healthy and our goal is to establish a global customer base, Fukuhara said.

Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Mark Potter and David Goodman

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