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Mitsubishi postpones first SpaceJet delivery for at least another year

FILE PHOTO: A Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation flag flies at Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, Britain, July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

(Reuters) – Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp said on Thursday it will delay the first delivery of its SpaceJet regional jet for at least another year until after March 2021.

The sixth delay is another blow to Japan’s commercial jet ambitions and will further raise the development cost of an aircraft that its maker’s chief shareholder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (7011.T) had planned to bring to market in 2013.

The “first commercial delivery of SpaceJet is expected to be in FY2021 or later,” Mitsubishi Heavy said in a statement Thursday when released its earnings for the quarter ending Dec. 31. The company also said it will book a 496.4 billion yen ($4.51 billion) special loss related to the SpaceJet unit.

ANA Holdings Inc (9202.T), Japan’s biggest airline by revenue, is slated to take the first delivery of the jet.

When the SpaceJet enters service it will compete against a new generation of regional jets built by Brazil’s Embraer SA (EMBR3.SA). Embraer has agreed to sell the bulk of its commercial jet business to Boeing Co (BA.N) in a deal that still needs final regulatory approvals.

Mitsubishi also on Thursday said it had appointed Takaoki Niwa, the head of its U.S. operations, as Mitsubishi Aircraft’s new president, replacing Hisakazu Mizutani, who will become chairman.

Editing by Kim Coghill

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