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Mitsubishi and Bombardier to Close CRJ Deal in June
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Bombardier announced on Thursday that they will close their deal for the CRJ aircraft series on June 1. Bombardier is selling the line to Mitsubishi for $500 million whilst Mitsubishi will assume liabilities worth $200 million. Bombardier will maintain CRJ production until the aircraft’s backlog runs out later this year.
A new entity to manage the jet’s sale and development, called MHI RJ Aviation Group (MHIRJ), will begin operations upon closing, the two companies said in a statement.
Mitsubishi is not purchasing the CRJ line in order to have control of it per se but rather to establish a support network for its own SpaceJet line, a new regional aircraft model Mitsubishi has been refining for years. Along with the right to sell the CRJ, Mitsubishi has bought the maintenance, support, refurbishment, marketing, and sales rights for the CRJ in addition to the aircraft’s type certificates.
The purchase includes the rights to the CRJ-related services and support network, which has major bases in Mirabel, Québec, and Toronto; Bridgeport, West Virginia; and Tucson, Arizona. The company will continue to distribute CRJ spare parts from depots in Chicago and Frankfurt.
“[The CRJ line will] provide a holistic servicing and support solution for the global aircraft industry including the CRJ Series aircraft, and eventually, for the Mitsubishi SpaceJet family of regional jets and is considered a major step for MHI as a global competitor in the regional jet sector,” Mitsubishi said in a press release. “Key integration milestone updates will be provided on an ongoing basis.”
The deal is closing at a key time for Mitsubishi. As the aviation industry begins recovering from the Coronavirus pandemic, domestic and narrow-body operations are likely to recover the quickest. It can be assumed that many people will be hesitant to travel internationally and narrow-body planes are easier to fill and cheaper to operate at under full capacity than wide-body aircraft.
With the closing of this deal, Bombardier will be completely divested from the commercial aircraft business. It completed a sale of a majority stake in its C-Series to Airbus in 2018, and it sold its Dash 8 program to Viking Air in 2019.
Mitsubishi had numerous orders for its SpaceJet line, originally named the MRJ-90, before the aircraft was found to violate scope clauses in the U.S., making the aircraft’s operation illegal in the valuable American market. In late 2019, it announced it would be focusing on a scope-compliant SpaceJet M100.
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