Trans States Holdings has canceled an order for up to 100 Mitsubishi SpaceJet aircraft, in the latest setback facing the Japanese manufacturer’s long-delayed regional jet program.

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. (MAC) announced Oct. 31 that Trans States Holdings—parent company of three US-based regional airlines—has terminated its contract for 50 firm orders of the SpaceJet M90, which included purchase options for 50 more. Mitsubishi said in a statement the decision was made because the larger M90 variant does not comply with union scope clauses, which limit regional aircraft to 76 seats and maximum takeoff weight to less than 39,000 kg. (86,000 lbs.)

While the 88-seat M90 does not comply with US regional carrier scope clauses, the 76-seat M100 does. MAC president Hisakazu Mizutani suggested in a statement that Trans States may consider replacing its canceled M90 order with an order for the M100, although he did not offer any details. 

When the two companies signed the contract for the M90 in October 2009—back when the aircraft was branded as the MRJ70—they had expected that scope clause restrictions on the larger variant would eventually be loosened, a prediction that has so far failed to materialize. 

“When we established our contract with [Trans States Holdings], the outlook on the regional market was very different. Scope clause has not relaxed as anticipated,” Mizutani said. “We have since shifted our strategy to be responsive to the market realities in the US, in partnership with our airline customers.”

Trans States’ termination of the contract leaves Utah-based regional carrier SkyWest Airlines as the only US-based airline with an outstanding order for the M90. Arizona-based Mesa Airlines, meanwhile, placed an order for 50 M100 aircraft, with purchase options for 50 more, at the Regional Airlines Association annual conference in early October, becoming the only carrier to date to place an order for the smaller SpaceJet variant.

Trans States Holdings is the parent company of Trans States Airlines, Compass Airlines and GoJet Airlines. The parent company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ben Goldstein, Ben.Goldstein@aviationweek.com