A project to build Japan's first passenger jet led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will start with around USD$1 billion in funding, up to 30 percent of which will come from government subsidies, a newspaper reported on Wednesday. Commercial production of the small jet, dubbed the MJ jet for Mitsubishi Jet, is due to start in the business year from April 2012.
The MJ will come in 72-seat and 92-seat versions and is part of a larger effort by Japan to develop aircraft that are more fuel efficient and make less noise. The machinery maker has already started talks with Britain's Rolls-Royce about supplying the engine for the jet.
Mitsubishi's Ikuno said the company believes a total of 350-600 aircraft orders are necessary for the project to be profitable. But he declined to confirm the Nikkei report that around 50-100 aircraft are expected to be manufactured each year. Mitsubishi Heavy and others will make a final decision by March 2008 on whether there will be enough orders to go ahead with the project.