SkyWest Inks Deal for 100 Mitsubishi Regional Jets

PurePowered Mitsubishi Regional Jets

SkyWest Fleet Renewal – 100 MRJ’s Ordered in a blow to Bombardier

SkyWest operates an incredible 725 regional aircraft for carriers including Delta Air Lines as a Delta Connection Carrier, and United Airlines, as a United Express carrier. As SkyWest has grown, so has the time to invest in fleet renewal.

In the days of cheap jet-fuel, the 50 seat regional jets were a bargain — today they’re expensive fuel hogs and are being dropped for larger, newer regional jets including the CRJ-700, CRJ-900, as well as the Embraer-170 and larger models.

This most recent order is a blow to Bombardier as SkyWest has one of their largest fleets in the sky.

The deal, inked just prior to the 2012 London Olympics, at the Farnborough Airshow on July 11th, indicates SkyWest is a serious player looking at the economics of fleet renewal, as oil prices remain volatile. Should a “shock” hit the oil markets, those with the absolute lowest operating costs will be the ones to succeed.

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet will offer both the MRJ70 (70 seat) and the MRJ90 (90 seat) models and each will have common wings, empennage, engines, and systems. As such, they’ll have commonalities in pilot type rating and maintenance programs as well as spare parts.

Fuel efficiency will be of utmost importance. To meet the goals of tomorrow Mitsubishi has partnered with the Pratt & Whitney unit of United Technologies Corp to produce P&W PurePower PW1200G geared turbofan engines for this jet.

Pratt & Whitney PurePower

The PurePowered PW1200G will not only provide superior operating cost savings, but will also provide environmental benefits through increased efficiency. The engine’s low-pressure system operates at high speeds for peak efficiency, while the fan operates at slower speeds for both optimum efficiency and significantly less noise. Better efficiency means fewer engine stages are required, reducing airfoil count, engine weight and overall operating cost.

Strong, light weight composite materials will be used and the aircraft will operate fly-by-wire. The flight deck will come equipped with the latest avionics and four large Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) to enhance situation awareness.

The passenger cabin will look and feel like a mainline aircraft with room for roll-a-boards and 2×2 slim-line seating.

Brad Rich, the President of SkyWest Inc., indicated the new Mitsubishi jets would be used to replace existing aircraft. Delivery is anticipated to start in 2017 and run through 2020.

While the order was a blow to Bombardier at the time, there will be plenty of demand for the regional jet manufacturers who are able to deliver aircraft in the 70 to 100 seat range with low operating costs.

The MRJ is the first new airliner produced in Japan in nearly 50 years.

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