Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced this week that it is suspending development of the M100 variant of its SpaceJet regional airliner and cut the overall budget of the program by half in response to the worldwide devastation of the airline industry by COVID-19. The announcement did not, however, derail MHI’s agreement to buy Bombardier’s regional jet business for $550 million, which was agreed on a year ago. That deal will close on June 1. MHI has also said it will build a design centre in Montreal but it’s not clear if that will be affected by the revised plans.
The M100 is a smaller, 76-seat variant of the M90, which has 90 seats. The M100 was aimed specifically at the U.S. regional market and designed to meet the terms of pilot contracts for that size of aircraft. The COVID-19 crisis has also affected certification efforts for the M90 by curtailing test flights at Mitsubishi’s Moses Lake, Washington facilities.