Japan Debuts its First Passenger Plane in 50 Years

November 11, 2015, 6:21 PM UTC
Ground staff prepare to see off Japan's first domestically produced passenger jet, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), prior to its maiden test flight at Nagoya airport, Aichi prefecture on November 11, 2015. Japan's first domestic passenger jet successfully took off on its maiden test flight November 11, culminating a decade of development for a programme aimed at competing with Brazilian and Canadian rivals in the global market for smaller aircraft. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph by Kazuhiro Nogi — AFP via Getty Images

Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the first passenger plane manufactured in Japan in more than 50 years, took flight for the first time on Wednesday.

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation unveiled the MRJ last year and, as reported by Bloomberg, have since delayed its debut flight three times. This comes as part of a larger effort to break into global aircraft manufacturing. The market for regional jets holding less than 100 passengers is currently dominated by Brazil’s Embraer SA and Canada’s Bombardier Inc.

Bloomberg reports that Ascend Flightglobal Consultancy forecasts the MRJ will surpass the Bombardier to become the second largest supplier of regional jets. The aircraft is supposedly 20% more fuel efficient than its competitors due to a geared turbofan engine.

The manufacturer already has 407 orders, most of which have been put in by North America’s SkyWest Inc. and Trans States Airlines Inc. Mitsubishi has also received orders from All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines Co., the country’s largest airline.