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Apesar da notícia falar da Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, mostra como o projeto do MRJ vem custando bilhões de dólares a empresa e como a Bombardier entra na jogada.


MITSURU OBE and NAOKI WATANABE, Nikkei staff writers JUNE 21, 2019 15:58 JST

PARIS/TOKYO -- At the Paris Air Show in June 2007, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries unveiled a sleek, gleaming silver mock-up of an aircraft it hoped would conquer the world's regional jet market. Twelve years and billions of dollars in overruns later, the Japanese conglomerate was back in Le Bourget this week, rebooting a program that was billed as the fulfillment of a national and corporate dream but instead became an investor nightmare.

The pavilion of subsidiary Mitsubishi Aircraft attracted crowds of journalists and aviation enthusiasts, eager to check out the interior of the redesigned and renamed Mitsubishi Regional Jet -- now the SpaceJet -- and hear how executives plan to rise above the design flaws and other setbacks that delayed deliveries five times.

The buzz was also fueled by the news earlier this month that Mitsubishi Heavy is negotiating to buy the regional jet program of one of its archrivals, Canada's Bombardier.

The acquisition of Bombardier's CRJ jet program could be the watershed that transforms the very identity of Japan's largest defense contractor.

Already, the SpaceJet revamp, which includes a variant tailored to the needs of U.S. airlines, suggests the company has recognized the need to change. The Bombardier deal, if it goes through, would end a damaging insistence on indigenous development at the bluest of Japan Inc.'s blue-blooded companies, potentially paving the way for Mitsubishi Heavy to harness global talent and opportunities.


Mitsubishi is hoping for a fresh start with the rebranded SpaceJet, displayed at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport. (Photo by Minoru Satake)

The question is whether aircraft buyers -- and stock investors -- will go along for the ride.

The course correction reflects a quiet sense of crisis at a 130-year-old conglomerate that has made everything from World War II fighters to stealth submarines, nuclear power plants and an International Space Station module. The company is so close to the Japanese government that it is widely considered a "proxy" for Tokyo, and revenue is stable for now. But, internally, concern is mounting in the face of the Japanese economy's hazy future, given the aging and shrinking population, and Mitsubishi's own struggles to leverage its expertise into globally leading positions.

Edward Bourlet, an analyst at CLSA, suggests Mitsubishi seems content with being an also-ran in too many sectors, rather than sharpening its competitive edge.

"They are not No. 1 in planes. They are not No. 1 in gas turbines. They are not No. 1 in nuclear plants. They are not No. 1 in anything," he said. "If they are not globally competitive in any single product and it is a conglomerate of businesses that aren't No. 1 in anything, that's a risk."

When Mitsubishi Heavy set out to produce the MRJ, it believed the jet could be that elusive globally competitive product. It also wanted to avoid a price war over aircraft components and maintain manufacturing in Japan. While Mitsubishi Heavy supplies wing flaps for the Boeing 737 Max, for example, they are made in Vietnam to keep costs down.

Japan had not produced a passenger plane of its own since the YS-11 turboprop was scrapped in 1973. Still, the company envisioned raking in orders from North American airlines that would be replacing aging fleets and from upcoming players in emerging Asian markets.

China's foray into the passenger jet market in 2008 with the establishment of COMAC added motivation. Mitsubishi officials were eager to grab market share before the Chinese competitor had a chance to build momentum.

But Mitsubishi appears to have overestimated its own capabilities.


The group manufactures the wings of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and the fuselage of the larger 777. It assembles F-15 and F-35 fighter jets. It builds rockets to deliver supplies to the ISS. Yet, while Mitsubishi saw the passenger jet challenge as one of technology, other big hurdles lay elsewhere: safety, accountability, smooth communication, and the hiring and retention of international expertise.

All are essential for persuading U.S. regulators to allow Americans to board a new aircraft.

Mitsubishi Aircraft intended to make the first delivery in 2013. Now, the goal is to have the roughly 90-seat SpaceJet M90, a rebranding of the MRJ, enter service with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways next year. The SpaceJet M100, which will seat 65 to 88 -- accommodating U.S. pilot union rules that set a maximum of 76 seats in a regional jet -- is due to be ready by 2023.

After several delays on type certification in the U.S., and three years after the plane was originally due to fly, Mitsubishi finally recruited an experienced outsider. Alex Bellamy came from Bombardier in 2016 to lead the MRJ project. He called the SpaceJet a "product born in Japan" that will be "certified around the world, to meet the global demand."

His mission is to convince airlines and the stock market that the project is indeed at "the turning point." Mitsubishi Aircraft originally expected to spend 150 billion yen ($1.4 billion) to develop its regional jet, but as of last year it had poured in 600 billion yen. The cost is projected to reach 800 billion yen by the 2020 debut of the M90.

Investors are in wait-and-see mode. Mitsubishi Heavy shares are trading at around 4,700 yen, roughly half the peak in 2007.

"So they needed outside specialist help in the first place," CLSA's Bourlet said of the Bellamy hiring. "They should have done that before."

He thinks the MRJ is a big reason investors are avoiding Mitsubishi Heavy. The jet, he said, is seen as "a long-term, capital-intensive, risky project that doesn't necessarily immediately make economic sense."

Mitsubishi Heavy's history of high-profile international missteps may be fueling skepticism as well.


The company reported a special loss of 240 billion yen for the year ended March 2016, after a move into cruise ship construction went awry. The group was founded as a shipbuilder in 1884 and supplies submarines and Aegis warships for Japan, but it had no experience with luxury ocean liners when it won an order from top cruise company Carnival in 2011. Much like the MRJ, the project was plagued by delays and overruns. The conglomerate ultimately gave up.

Also in 2016, Mitsubishi Heavy lost a bid to supply next-generation submarines to the Australian navy, despite an all-out sales pitch by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government. The contract went to a French company that promised to create more local jobs.

Last December, Mitsubishi Heavy's project to build a nuclear power plant in Turkey fell through after the cost estimate ballooned -- again after an all-out sales pitch by Abe.

Mitsubishi Heavy has tried to become more open, competitive, and less bureaucratic. For example, Previous President Shunichi Miyanaga initiated a merger of its energy business with Hitachi's. He also introduced a more transparent CEO selection process and began briefing analysts about quarterly earnings himself. In a rare move for a storied Japanese conglomerate, the company brought in a foreign woman -- management professor Christina Ahmadjian -- to serve as an independent director.

But the pace of change is slow from a Western perspective. "Everyone is waiting for a big move and there is no big move," Bourlet said. Japanese contractors are "trying to be progressive, but struggle to be aggressive."

The Bombardier deal could help to change that perception -- but only if it goes ahead, and integration is well managed.

Buying the Canadian company's jet program, known as the CRJ, would give Mitsubishi Heavy access to a wealth of expertise along with a network of maintenance hubs -- necessary to win new MRJ orders. Bombardier's know-how would also give the SpaceJet program more credibility at a time when aviation safety is in the spotlight, after two Boeing 737 Max crashes.

The purchase would also remove a major competitor from the U.S. regional jet market. Mitsubishi Aircraft would still have to confront a formidable foe in Brazil's Embraer, which has agreed to sell its commercial aircraft division to U.S. giant Boeing. But the rival is focused on jets seating 100 or more, while Mitsubishi is aiming at the smaller end of the market.

In an interview, Mitsubishi Aircraft President Hisakazu Mizutani suggested the talks with Bombardier were progressing, saying the Canadian company is "looking at the idea in a very positive manner." The CRJ program is loss-making for Bombardier. Nevertheless, Mizutani described it as "a solid business," adding, "We are looking into how the combined operations could produce maximum results."

Bob Morris and Thomas Kaplan, analysts at aviation consultancy Cirium, said the replacement of the mature CRJs with SpaceJets "could be a natural move for many of the existing operators." Another benefit of the deal would be having a production foothold in Canada, right next to the world's largest regional jet market in the U.S.

Mitsubishi executives cautioned that the companies could still fail to reach agreement. But without the CRJ, the Japanese jet would be "the weaker second player in a regional jet duopoly dominated by Embraer/Boeing," said Morris and Kaplan, assuming Bombardier ultimately withdraws from regional aircraft.

Either way, Mitsubishi still has high hopes for the plane business. "We want to grow commercial aviation into a main revenue source in 10-20 years," Masanori Koguchi, Mitsubishi Heavy's CFO said in an interview in November. Demand for regional jets is currently concentrated in North America and Europe, but Koguchi expects it to grow in Asia as well, especially in island countries like the Philippines and Indonesia where land transport is relatively limited.

Mitsubishi Aircraft is currently sitting on about 400 aircraft orders, including options. On Wednesday it signed a memorandum of understanding with an undisclosed North American airline for 15 SpaceJet M100s.

Over the next two decades, the company expects demand for more than 5,000 regional jets in North America alone, mostly replacement demand, and aims to capture "a significant proportion" of it.

"Aerospace is actually a good business," Bourlet said, noting industry players should be able to take advantage of increasing air travel, especially in Asia. The trouble is that Mitsubishi has not shown the MRJ can capitalize on that opportunity so far, and it will still face obstacles even with Bombardier, he added.

"They haven't completed the first delivery of the MRJ yet," said Sho Fukuhara, an analyst at Jefferies. "I'm not so sure how they can manage these two business entities."

Investors may harbor similar concerns. The day after the news of the Bombardier talks broke, Mitsubishi Heavy shares fell more than 2% on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

A lot may depend on the cost of the deal, according to Bourlet.

"If they get a good price [for] the expertise of Bombardier, the maintenance hubs, the know-how, experience, and [if] they can efficiently integrate Bombardier, I think they could turn sentiment and opinion around."


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A compra da aviacao comercial da Embraer pela Boeing pode ser uma boa para a Mitsubishi. Talvez o mercado das scopes clauses não seja "interessante" para a Boeing, por causa das baixas margens. Já li em algum lugar que hoje um 175E1/CRJ900 é vendido por menos US$ 25mi (ha vinte anos, um ERJ145 era vendido por US$18mi). Se a Boeing focar no 190E2/195E2 além de usar parte da engharia/produção da Embraer para ajudar no desenvolvimento de um 797, o mercado das scope clauses fica mais assessível para a Mitsubishi.


Não vejo muito sentido a Boeing vender 175 com descontos para empresas como Skywest ou Republic, pois essas nunca vão comprar um 737. Já United, American e Horizon (Alaska) consigam pegar alguns 175 com precos camaradas numa venda conjunta com outros aviões da norte americana.

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  • 7 months later...

Meus prezados

“PARIS / TÓQUIO - No Salão Aéreo de Paris, em junho de 2007, a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries apresentou uma maquete prateada e brilhante de uma aeronave que esperava conquistar o mercado regional de jatos. Doze anos e bilhões de dólares excedidos mais tarde, o conglomerado japonês voltou a Le Bourget esta semana, reiniciando um programa que foi anunciado como a realização de um sonho nacional e corporativo, mas que se tornou um pesadelo para os investidores.

O pavilhão da subsidiária Mitsubishi Aircraft atraiu multidões de jornalistas e entusiastas da aviação, ansiosos para conhecer o interior do Mitsubishi Regional Jet redesenhado e renomeado - agora o SpaceJet - e ouvir como os executivos planejam superar as falhas de design e outros contratempos. entregas atrasadas cinco vezes.

Planos de entrega para o SpaceJet da Mitsubishi adiados novamente


 Mitsubishi SpaceJet

 A Mitsubishi Aircraft adiou a entrega do SpaceJet (conhecido anteriormente como Mitsubishi Regional Jet ou MRJ) pela sexta vez para o final de 2021 ou 2022, adicionando mais turbulência ao seu esforço para construir o primeiro jato doméstico de passageiros do Japão, informa o Nikkei.

A nova meta de entrega foi revelada em uma reunião interna no dia 24 de janeiro e deve ser anunciada publicamente em 6 de fevereiro.

O SpaceJet foi feito para competir contra a última geração de jatos regionais da Embraer.

O primeiro voo do MRJ ocorreu em novembro de 2015. O custo do programa é de US$ 7,5 bilhões e o preço previsto dos aviões é de US$ 46,3 milhões para o modelo de 70 lugares e US$ 47,3 milhões para o de 90 lugares.

Fonte: blog Poder Aéreo 28 jan 2020


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  • 3 months later...

Mitsubishi Heavy to close two SpaceJet offices in North America


Nikkei staff writers
May 25, 2020 14:45 JST

TOKYO -- Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will close two of its three offices for SpaceJet aircraft subsidiary Mitsubishi Aircraft in North America, plans that are likely to affect a few hundred jobs, Nikkei has learned.

Closing will be the U.S. headquarter of Mitsubishi Aircraft, in Renton, Washington, and another office that does design work in Canada's Quebec. The test flight site in Washington state's Moses Lake remains, but the number of staff will be significantly reduced.

The two sites opened in 2019, ahead of the launch of SpaceJet, the Japanese made regional jet. Estimates say these facilities have a few hundred employees. While Mitsubishi Heavy is planning to relocate staff to Japan, local employment will be affected.

Mitsubishi's SpaceJet program was hit by demand uncertainties as the novel coronavirus swept the world. These came on top of technical delays.

As the company scales down development in Japan, it is also reviewing operations abroad.

The 90-seat class aircraft was scheduled to be delivered after 2021, but mass production was halted. Development of a 70-seat class aircraft planned to be delivered in 2023 has also ceased.

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Mitsubishi Heavy to halt SpaceJet mass production and halve staff
Exclusive: Program workforce to be reassigned as global aircraft demand slumps


Nikkei staff writers
May 22, 2020 22:33 JSTUpdated on May 22, 2020 23:28 JST

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will sharply scale down its long-troubled SpaceJet program as it faces a global drop in demand for the planned Japanese-made regional jet amid the coronavirus pandemic, Nikkei has learned.

Subsidiary Mitsubishi Aircraft will halt plans for mass production of the 90-seat plane owing partly to delays in parts deliveries, according to an internal notice sent to staff.

The pandemic, which has stalled the process for receiving type certification -- a test of the plane's airworthiness -- has thrown up another obstacle to a aircraft program beset by design changes and other setbacks.

Mitsubishi Aircraft will postpone once again the delivery of the first SpaceJet to All Nippon Airways, which was due next year at the soonest.

Delivery of the aircraft has been delayed multiple times since the initial due date in 2013. Orders for about 300 of the planes in the 90-seat class are outstanding.

Mitsubishi Aircraft, based in Aichi Prefecture, will reduce its staff of about 1,500 people by roughly half. Workers affected by the cuts are expected to be relocated to the Mitsubishi Heavy parent company or other operations within the group.

The new cutbacks will go further than cost-cutting plans announced earlier this month.

Mitsubishi Heavy said on May 11 that it will revise development of a 70-seat-class SpaceJet designed for the North American market. Development costs for the plane during the current fiscal year ending March 2021 will be reduced to roughly 60 billion yen ($557 million), or half the scale of the previous financial year.

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Essa puxada no freio de mão por parte da Mitsubishi e o incêndio na fabrica das asas do A220 podem dar um pouco de alívio para a Embraer.


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20 hours ago, vfman said:

Essa puxada no freio de mão por parte da Mitsubishi e o incêndio na fabrica das asas do A220 podem dar um pouco de alívio para a Embraer.


não consigo enxergar onde isso pode beneficiar a Embraer

O e-2 já vinha com pouquissímas encomendas antes da crise, agora com a demanda em baixa e a provável grande quantidade de aviões que vão ser aposetandos jogando o leasing deles lá em baixo

no meu ver isso tudo só vai piorar a situação

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China e japa unidos?

Mitsubishi's Bombardier deal soured by SpaceJet cutbacks

Japan's homegrown aviation project faces choice on seeking Chinese help


A SpaceJet takes off at Nagoya airport in Japan. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has made cuts to the program. (Photo by Koji Uema)

MITSURU OBE, Nikkei staff writerJune 1, 2020 15:25 JST

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries marks a milestone in its aviation ambitions on Monday by integrating the commercial jet business of Canada's Bombardier, even as doubts grow about the Japanese company's ability to keep its own commercial jet program on track at a time of airline industry upheaval.

MHI's $550 million purchase of Bombardier's global network of service centers was meant to secure a foothold in the aircraft servicing business and provide a maintenance platform for its own Mitsubishi SpaceJet family of next-generation regional aircraft under development for 12 years.

But MHI's ability to finance the much delayed program is under renewed scrutiny as the short-term challenge of the coronavirus crisis weighs heavily on its finances.

Last month, MHI decided to shutter SpaceJet's overseas operations, consolidate activities at its headquarters in Nagoya and suspend all flight testing. Mitsubishi Aircraft, the program operator, has approximately 2,500 workers -- 1,800 in Japan, some 100 at the development center in Montreal, 160 at the U.S. headquarters in Renton and 450 at the flight test center in Moses Lake, both in the state of Washington.

MHI fell into the red for the first time in 20 years for the year ended in March and is struggling to shoulder the cost of the SpaceJet program, in which it has invested at least 716 billion yen ($6.7 billion). S&P Global downgraded company debt to BBB plus from A minus on Feb. 19, due to the growing strain the program is putting on finances. The rating company warned of a further downgrade if project costs surge beyond present assumptions.

MHI, also a core supplier to Boeing, says it remains committed to the SpaceJet program, at least in the long-term. "As we consolidate, the hope is to reduce redundancies while still maintaining the core competencies we have developed," said a spokesman for Nagoya-based Mitsubishi Aircraft, which is overseeing the program.

That the Bombardier acquisition will have to be written off entirely underscores MHI's financial challenge. There is little demand for new aircraft or maintenance services, as 60% of the world's 26,000 passenger jets are grounded during the pandemic, meaning they require no servicing. Bombardier's network of service centers around the world repairs and maintains 1,250 jets flown by 130 operators.

Global passenger jet traffic has been down about 80% from a year earlier since April 1, according to data from aviation analytics company Cirium.


A Mitsubishi Aircraft spokesman stressed that the retrench is not the first step in canceling the SpaceJet program.

"Because of the cost control measures and budget directives that forced us to close our flight test facility at Moses Lake, we are putting the aircraft into storage," the spokesman said, adding that a small team will continue to maintain the aircraft. "Since we are focused on cost control measures now, we will focus on [the] validation and documentation" portion of type certification, he added, referring to paper work for certification with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau and work to validate it with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

After more than 3,000 hours of actual flight testing, Mitsubishi Aircraft officials have said that the company's 88-seat aircraft for the Japan market, SpaceJet M90, was close to type certification, and were eyeing that to be achieved in the spring of 2021.

The coronavirus, however, upended the plan. "When the whole industry is downsizing, right-sizing and fleet-optimizing, the last thing they need is a brand-new airplane, all new training, all new spare parts," said David Pritchard, associate professor of business at the State University of New York Empire State College.

In such an environment, MHI has no choice but to control costs and has frozen its ambition to develop, certify, and mass-produce the SpaceJet M100, a 76-seater for the lucrative U.S. market -- the main target for the SpaceJet program.

Mitsubishi Aircraft has company orders for 163 aircraft, options for 124 and letters of intent for another 200, most of them for SpaceJet 100. But those orders could be in jeopardy if the buyers go out of business.

Boeing CEO David Calhoun predicted in May that a major U.S. airline could go under, warning that it will take a full-three years for air traffic to return to the pre-crisis level and another two years for the growth rate to recover.

With the industry in survival mode, "cash is the king," Pritchard said. "As much as I hate that statement, it's so true."

He argues that MHI will have to find a partner to fund the project and said that Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, or Comac, is the most logical one, noting the Chinese aircraft maker's deep pockets and its desire to access Bombardier's global service network and Mitsubishi's experience in FAA certification.

Comac will form a joint venture either with Mitsubishi Aircraft or its rival Embraer of Brazil, and the one that doesn't get such a partner "will not be around," Pritchard predicted.

There have already been reports that Comac is reaching out to Embraer for collaboration. The Brazilian company already has over 80% of the Chinese market for planes carrying 150 passengers or less, and maintains a dedicated office for the country.

Hirotaka Yamauchi, director of the Japan Transport and Tourism Research Institute, a Japanese government affiliate, says it's highly unlikely that MHI, the nation's top defense contractor, will partner with a Chinese state-owned company. Further, SpaceJet's billing as a 'national project' has also made it difficult to bring in foreign capital.

Aircraft manufacturing is a highly concentrated industry, and only Airbus and Boeing have the financial, engineering and marketing wherewithal to support a major jet program. But both companies reported net losses last year and are now too consumed with their own problems to throw a lifeline to others.

Therefore, Yamauchi doesn't expect realignment to happen anytime soon. But, he said, "MHI will eventually need a partner" for the SpaceJet program.


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