Manufacturers Abandon Regional Commercial Aircraft

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In recent months, Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) scrapped the SpaceJet, while Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) abandoned the Superjet 100 programme. MHI announced the cancellation of SpaceJet in its latest results for the fiscal year 2022/23, stating that it had "failed to confirm sufficient business viability for resuming development" of the aircraft. Mitsubishi stated in its presentation of the results that the project was terminated due to the lengthy development timeframe, difficulty in acquiring funds and what it called "understanding and necessary cooperation from global partners," and the complexity of achieving scope restrictions. 

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The conditions contained in agreements between airlines and unions that control regional airline operations in the United States are known as scope clauses. According to MHI, "little progress on scope clause relaxation" resulted in SpaceJet failing to meet the specifications. 

Mitsubishi halted SpaceJet development in 2020, after relaunching the old MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet) a year earlier after repeated development delays following the aircraft's 2008 launch. Meanwhile, UAC announced in early March 2023 that it will sell its 49% investment in Superjet International (SJI) to Mark AB Capital Investments of the United Arab Emirates and exit the Superjet project entirely.


Under the new ownership structure, the aircraft's design and production authority will be transferred to SJI's Venice facility, which will also be responsible for marketing and sales, installation of aircraft options, pilot and crew training, final flight tests, deliveries, and customer support. Superjets will now be produced in a new facility at Al Ain International Airport in the UAE before being completed in Venice. According to SJI, the relaunch plan developed by SJI and Mark AB Capital "envisions investments of $900 million" to support the Al Ain facility and enable "the development of new aircraft configurations."

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