Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. hopes to sign up new customers for its SpaceJet aircraft family program by the end of the year, as it pushes ahead with type certification testing for the aircraft.

“We had a surge of customer conversations post-Paris [Air Show],” Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. chief development officer Alex Bellamy said Oct. 9 at the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) general assembly. “We expect to announce more MOUs this year,” he added.

“On the M90 program type certification testing, we are in full swing at our flight test center in Moses Lake,” Bellamy said, adding that Japanese and US authorities were present as part of a shadow and validation program. The company has started many of the tests, including engine and APU, icing and blowing snow, anti-icing, fuel and avionics testing, he added. 

The company announced in June that it was acquiring Bombardier’s Canadair regional jet program and in September it announced the opening of its SpaceJet Montreal Center, which Bellamy said is “critical” to Mitsubishi’s global growth strategy. 

“We see the SpaceJet Montreal center as a key location for product development. We expect to be using this first to support the M90 certification efforts and then M100 as well,” Bellamy said. 

The manufacturer signed an MOU for 15 SpaceJet M100s during the Paris Air Show and a further MOU for 100 of the type with Phoenix-based Mesa Airlines in September. 

A Mitsubishi spokesman added the manufacturer has been talking to all major and regional airlines about the program since then, and there has been plenty of interest from the US, Europe and elsewhere. 

Helen Massy-Beresford,