Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has agreed to purchase the Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) Program, a move which will see the Canadian plane and train maker now focus its entire operations on profitable business jets and passenger rail cars. MHI has agreed to pay US$550 million for the CRJ Program while also taking over a US$200 million debt.
Pursuant to the agreement, MHI will acquire the maintenance, support, refurbishment, marketing, and sales activities for the CRJ Series aircraft, including the related services and support network located in Montréal, Québec, and Toronto, Ontario, and its service centres located in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Tucson, Arizona, as well as the type certificates. The CRJ production facility in Mirabel, Québec will be retained by Bombardier, which will continue to supply components and spare parts, assembling the current CRJ backlog on behalf of MHI. CRJ production is anticipated to conclude in the second half of 2020 after the delivery of the current backlog of aircraft.
The move is strategically beneficial for MHI, which has been beset with certification delays for the former MRJ, now renamed SpaceJet, a sub-100-seat jet and the first commercial airliner to be manufactured in Japan since the 1960s. With its launch originally planned for 2013, this has been postponed several times, and delivery to its launch customer, ANA Holdings Inc, is now set for 2020. Commenting on the transaction, Seiji Izumisawa, President & CEO of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., said: “As we outlined during the recent Paris Air Show, we are working hard to ensure that we provide new profit potential for airlines and set a new standard for passenger experience. This transaction represents one of the most important steps in our strategic journey to build a strong, global aviation capability. It augments these efforts by securing a world-class and complementary set of aviation-related functions including maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), engineering and customer support.”