Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has confirmed that its SpaceJet (nee MRJ) project has been put on hold indefinitely given changes in the market environment as a result of COVID-19 as well as a protracted certification process.

According to the Nikkei, when questioned on the SpaceJet's revised delivery date, which has been postponed six times, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries President Seiji Izumisawa said during an online press conference on October 30 that "a delivery time has not been set" and that it cannot foresee any date at present when the first M90 will be handed over to launch operator ANA - All Nippon Airways (NH, Tokyo Haneda).

"We are not in a position where we can talk about when," he said. "I'm sorry that the development period has become so drawn out and deployment has been delayed."

In its 2021 Medium-Term Business Plan, which covers the three years ahead from FY2021 to FY2023, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said that given the current development status and market conditions, it has had no choice but to temporarily pause the majority of SpaceJet activities, except for type certification documentation.

"We will work to review where we stand, make improvements, and assess a possible program restart," it said, adding that it does not foresee any real aerospace recovery likely before FY2024 (April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025).

For the first half of FY2020, the SpaceJet programme racked up an EBITDA loss of JPY82.2 billion yen (USD785.5 million) against JPY13.8 billion (USD131.88 million) for the previous year. Overall, Mitsubishi anticipates a full-year EBITDA loss of JPY120 billion (USD1.147 billion) for its SpaceJet programme.

Going forward, Mitsubishi said it will minimise its aerospace losses by focussing on its CRJ programme where a recovery in short-haul travel demand is expected to accelerate the recovery of Mitsubishi's CRJ and aero-engine businesses. Investment that would have gone to the SpaceJet will now be diverted to other priority growth areas such as energy transition, new mobility, and logistics.