The newly-rebranded Mitsubishi SpaceJet has completed its first flight.
Formerly known as the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) until June 2019, this is the first aircraft manufactured and designed in Japan for decades.
This is the first flight of “Unit 10”, which appears to be the first test aircraft in the full SpaceJet livery. The MRJ has already taken flight before, but this was the SpaceJet’s first flight.
The test aircraft took off from Nagoya Airport and flew over the Pacific Ocean for about two hours before landing back in Nagoya.
Here’s the full takeoff and landing footage of the first flight:
The Mitsubishi SpaceJet has already received hundreds of orders. So far, there are about 167 orders for the M90 and 50 orders for the M100.
All Nippon Airways was the first customer with 15 on order. While its livery has been painted years ago featuring the old “MRJ”, it hasn’t been officially delivered yet.
Japan Airlines has 32 M90s on order. Deliveries for the SpaceJet to ANA/JAL are expected to begin in 2021/2022.
Notably, Skywest and Mesa Airlines, two regional airlines that operate flights on behalf of U.S. airlines, have ordered the SpaceJet. Specifically, Skywest has ordered 100 M90s and Mesa has ordered 50 M100s.
This means we could see American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, or even Alaska Airlines have the SpaceJet in the near future.
Honestly, it’s pretty exciting to see a country like Japan that normally doesn’t produce aircraft finally join the competition.