back to article Mitsubishi gives up on Japan's first domestically manufactured passenger jet

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), a core company within Japan's Mitsubishi Group, announced on Tuesday that it was finally killing its regional aircraft, the SpaceJet. Although the decision was already made internally, Mitsubishi released the details of the cancelation to the public within its Q3 2022 reports. The company …

  1. LogicGate Silver badge

    Better luck next time around

    They will get there eventually.

    Keep in mind, they do not have ZERO experience in the aviation industry.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better luck next time around

      Excellent pun. I wonder how many get that :).

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: Better luck next time around

        I came here to say basically they made a big fat Zero......

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: Better luck next time around

          only the survivors got it

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better luck next time around

      They still build fighter aircraft, their latest being the F2. A fattened up F16.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not sure about MHI's optimism about transferring skills from regional jet design to next gen fighters... Unless carrying passengers while on sorties is a new way of funding the armed forces?

    To be fair, starting with civil aircraft design skills is better than starting with no skills at all, but....

    1. LogicGate Silver badge


    2. Killfalcon Silver badge

      I assume what actually happened is the designers were too enthusiastic, and kept coming into meetings with plans for afterburners and mach 1.2-capable delta-wings.

      The final straw was trying to install a drop-sight in the cargo bay.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        This despite pre-orders from Ryanair, who liked that idea.

        “You complain that our destination airports are nowhere near where they claim to be - well with our new aircraft we can drop you off EXACTLY at the destination!*”

        *terms and conditions apply. Optional parachute may be purchased for €49.99 at booking time, or with a winning onboard scratch-card purchase. Parachute will be mailed to you within 90 business days. No refunds even if unopened.

    3. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Mass kamikaze strikes, with the need to only train 1 of 90 to actually be a pilot?

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Cuts down on pilot training, they only need to learn how to take off.....

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    Regional aircraft called space jet? It seems like the project was doomed from the start.

    Why did they not call it AroundTheCornerJet or TwoBlocksAwayJet?

    That sounds more local.

    1. Lis Bronze badge

      Re: SpaceJet


      It's no more ludicrous than calling a rocket "starship"

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: SpaceJet

      Had nothing to do with 'Space', but it rather had everything to do with the spaciousness of the cabin. It was similar to the Bombardier CS100 (now the Airbus A220), compared to the cramped Bombardier CRJ series (pretty much the standard regional jet in North America) anyway.

      1. LogicGate Silver badge

        Re: SpaceJet

        Same as a "Widebody" jet is not made to comfortably accomodate your "wide body" unless you pay through the nose for the upgrade.

      2. sschuchart

        Re: SpaceJet

        Ya, the CRJ series is.....small. Like suck-it-in-and-watch-your-head small.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: SpaceJet

          CRJ feels much bigger if your route used to be served by a Saab turboprop!

          1. Someone Else Silver badge

            Re: SpaceJet

            CRJ feels much bigger if your route used to be served by a Saab turboprop!

            OK, point taken. But if it was served by an Embraer...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: SpaceJet

              I only remember flying on one Embraer. It was like climbing into a hypodermic needle. 1x2 seating. I prefer a window seat, so of course I got assigned an asile seat.

      3. Apollo-Soyuz 1975

        Re: SpaceJet

        Also worth noting that Bombardier offloaded the entire CRJ program into MHI’s lap in mid-2020:

        Presumably this was an effort to stabilize the balance sheet after the bath that BBD took on C-series development before Covid.

  4. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Chinese A320 clone

    The Chinese made the right decision to develop an A320-clone, which is one of the world's best selling aircraft.

    The market for a regional jet is limited, although I would add that Embrear isn't doing to bad with its E190, which is similar in size and configuration to the SpaceJet. I've flown on the E190 and it's a workhorse within Europe and the U.S.

  5. Wolfclaw

    I always though the problem was the autopilot always wanted to crash in to the first American ship it saw.

  6. bazza Silver badge

    It's a Pity

    It was at one point shaping up to be a lovely little jet.

    But I think that that was the problem, especially hovering in and around the absurd US "Scope Clause" specifications. Had they put the effort into a larger design... The market for the 737/A320-sized single aisle airliners is vast, and Airbus literally cannot make them fast enough. Boeing are selling MAXes only because Airbus can't kid even themselves that they could fulfil more orders than they already have. Had the Japanese turned up on the market with something that size, there'd have been a ton of airlines queuing up to buy it and Boeing might have got into a lot of trouble.

    So, very nice design, but the wrong design. Not ambitious enough.

    Interestingly, this is what Airbus got so very right. At the very beginning, Airbus had ambitions to sell aircraft, but never dreamed that they could challenge Boeing's vast market share. What Airbus's US-born chief salesman John Leahy did was drive Airbus's ambition, get them to set themselves up to be able to mass manufacture the A320. Unbelievably, the staid / conservative Europeans went along with the bold and brash idea, and the rest is history.

    It feels like Mitsubishi tried to shy away from direct competition with Airbus / Boeing, when in fact they probably should have gone all-in and taken them both on. Even getting to only 10, 15% of the market share initially would be A Very Large Number of Orders. Timidity doesn't win, when you turn up with a pocket knife to a ruthless gun fight.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The main thing I associate with MHI is air conditioners. We have some in our house. Not sure what makes domestic air con heavy industry.

    1. albaleo

      Are you not thinking of Mitsubishi Electric - a separate company from MHI.

      1. ChrisC Silver badge

        Nope, definitely MHI - we've got a couple of their units at home too...

        1. albaleo

          Thanks. I didn't know that. Having lived in Japan for 15 years or so, I probably should have. (We used Daikin.)

  8. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

    Good video doc

    As Youtube channels go, Asianometry is generelly not bad. They had an in-depth one on the jet quite a while ago:

    "Japan’s Commercial Jet Failure"

  9. Kev99 Silver badge

    The wonderful people who brought Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, and the HMS Prince of Wales&HMS Repulse couldn't build a jet aircraft? How ironic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You dropped two nuclear bombs on them in return. Maybe time to move on

    2. SundogUK Silver badge

      As someone has already pointed out:

  10. david 12 Silver badge

    "the funds needed to acquire a type certificate."

    They already had an operational aircraft prototype, with 5000 hours, and they couldn't afford a type certificate. That's eye-opening.

  11. werdsmith Silver badge

    In its day, Mitsubish MU-2 was a very good aircraft, with a rapid cruise speed for a turboprop.

  12. imanidiot Silver badge

    Japanese business culture strikes again?

    My experience in working with/dealing with Japanese companies is that they are (on the whole) immensely competent and their industries have everything they'd need to be world class leaders in the high tech industry. But it's the business culture that keeps blocking them from ever achieving anything. Getting anything done is a process of patience, hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing and bureaucracy. You'll never talk to the guy that actually makes the decisions and even if you do, he won't do so right then and there. Nobody seems to dare do anything that might cause even mild inconvenience for anyone else.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Nobody seems to dare do anything that might cause even mild inconvenience for anyone else

      Whereas the western capitalism style of do what I want and screw everyone else is an enviable bastion of civilised business culture.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Japanese business culture strikes again?

      I’d say that with such names as Toyota, Sony, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Keyence, Canon and Nintendo they are not too bad at achieving.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Japanese business culture strikes again?

        A lot of those got big despite the culture,started out with a different internal culture or operate mostly outside Japan with a less Japanese business structure. It also seems to have gotten worse over the decades, not better. Especially companies like Canon, Nikon, Toyota HAD a technological lead or where on the cutting edge and simple stopped moving forward. Canon and Nikon have lost a lot of footing in anything other than (consumer) cameras (and for instance their lithography arms lost out by basically trying to their sell camera lenses while ASML was busy selling a good business case), Toyota is stuck on hybrids after betting the farm on hydrogen fuel-cell tech (and failing because hydrogen was, is and always will be shit for vehicle energy storage). Sony -> Struggling on many fronts, Mitsubishi -> depends on which bit you're talking about, Nintendo -> MASSIVE pile of cash helps to keep going no matter what.

        I think any engineer like me who's ever worked with a Japanese supplier has probably had similar frustrations. They're perfectly competent and deliver good wares if you stay exactly within the catalogue of existing products. Want something slightly different or with better specs (even if the product strictly speaking already meets this, so it would mean some cherry picking for a particular customer and a slightly updated spec sheet. Or just a different combination of existing products)? Yeah, no, that's going to take a long time. If you can make it happen at all.

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