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Japan's first passenger jet delayed until 2020

By Allen Cone
Japan's first passenger jet delayed until 2020
A scale model of Mitsubishi Aircrft Corp.'s planned jet for Japan Airlines Co. is displayed during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on August 28, 2014. JAL plans to buy 32 of the newly developed regional planes. Delivery of the first planes for any carrier has been delayed until 2020. Photo by Kimimasa Mayama/European Pressphoto Agency

Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. announced Monday deliveries of Japan's first passenger jet would be delayed by another two years until 2020 and a 30 percent increase in costs.

Mitsubishi said the delay "is due to revisions of certain systems and electrical configurations on the aircraft" to meet certification requirements for regulatory approvals.

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It's the fifth delay for the plane, which will seat up to 92 people.

Mitsubishi Aircraft, a subsidiary of the conglomerate, has 447 orders for the plane, including from U.S. regional carriers Sky West Airlines, Trans States Holdings and the newly revived Eastern Air Lines.

The first customer to receive the plane is All Nippon Airways, the operator of Japan's biggest airline, with 25 orders.

The carrier said it was "disappointed" at this latest delay. It was supposed to receive its first plane seven years ago.

The plane is Japan's first new commercial aircraft since 1965 when a turboprop was introduced.

Mitsubishi Chief Executive Officer Shunichi Miyanaga didn't say why the costs were going up. In June, company's Chief Financial Officer Masanori Koguchi said the jet's development costs had tripled to $5.3 billion from initial estimates.

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Mitsubishi made its first test flight in 2015 and now has four aircraft flying. Three are based in Moses Lake, Wash., 140 miles east of Seattle.

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. parent company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been a supplier to Boeing.

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