This week in aviation news: First MRJ aircraft arrives in United States for testing, Airbus announces corporate reorganization, Dubai set to open ten more Emirates A380 gates, Bombardier’s CS300 begins European route-proving
The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), the first Japanese-made aircraft produced in over fifty years, has made its first appearance in the United States. The 90-seat MRJ90, the larger of two available variations, left Japan’s Nagoya Airfield on Monday. After making stops in Russia and Anchorage, the aircraft landed at Grant County International Airport in Washington state on Wednesday. The first of four test aircraft set to the be tested in the United States, the aircraft was initially delayed after issues with data monitoring in its air conditioning system. Mitsubishi has opened two flight testing centers in Washington, where the aircraft will undergo further flights in order to achieve type certification. While the MRJ achieved its first flight last November, the manufacturer had announced that the first delivery of the jet would be delayed to approximately the second quarter of 2018. The two variations of the MRJ will hold approximately 78 and 88 passengers, and Mitsubishi reports that it will deliver a 20 percent increase in fuel savings when compared to regional jets currently in use. To date, Mitsubishi has received more than 433 orders and purchase options for the jet. The approximate list price for the MRJ90 is $43.7 million.
French manufacturer Airbus Commercial Airplanes and Airbus Group, headquartered in the Netherlands, are set to merge in a major corporate shakeup. Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group, will maintain his position while Airbus Commercial Airplanes CEO Fabrice Brégier has been appointed as COO of the conglomerate but will maintain his role as president of the commercial aircraft division. “The merger of Airbus Group and Airbus paves the way for an overhaul of our corporate set-up, simplifies our company’s governance, eliminates redundancies and supports further efficiencies, while at the same time driving further integration of the entire group,” Enders said, in a statement released on Thursday. The companies will operate under the singular brand name of Airbus, which will go into effect in January of next year. Airbus has experienced its share of difficulties in 2016, facing manufacturing issues and a steadily shrinking number of orders along with a 13% decrease in the value of its shares.
Dubai International Airport (DBX) has agreed to open a total of ten new gates to accommodate United Arab Emirates’ growing A380 fleet. Once the new gates are added, DBX will have the capacity to handle more A380s than any other airport in the world, with a total of 47 gates. The airport’s Concourse C has recently merged to operate exclusively Emirates and Qantas flights, a redesign expected to see completion in 2018. The changes are part of the DBX Plus program, which aims to increase the airport’s capacity to 118 million passengers over the next seven years. Bryan Thompson, SVP of development at Dubai Airports said, “Considering the traffic growth at Dubai International and the central role the airport will continue to play for the aviation sector as well as Dubai’s economy over the next 10 years, it is vital that we provide additional capacity while enhancing our customer service. We believe this first project under DXB Plus will deliver on both fronts.” Emirates currently operates a fleet of 140 Airbus A380s, the world’s largest aircraft seating 555 passengers in a standard three-class configuration.
Bombardier’s CS300, the larger member of the CSeries family, has begun European route-proving flights in order to achieve certification. The test aircraft has been operating along launch operator airBaltic’s routes in the Middle East, Europe, and through the airline’s base in Riga, Latvia. AirBaltic has 20 145-seat CS300s on order, and is expected to receive the first aircraft by the end of this year. “The airBaltic team [will] welcome the CS300 to its home base in Riga for the first time to see the aircraft simulate operations in our route system that covers much of Europe—all in advance of our first delivery later this fall,” airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss said. Bombardier reports that the CSeries family delivers a 20% fuel burn advantage over its competitors, is the quietest in-production commercial aircraft in the 100-150 seat variation, and boasts a range of 3,300 nautical miles.