TOKYO (AP) — Mitsubishi, a maker of the Zero fighter, took a step toward reclaiming Japan’s one-time status as an aviation power Wednesday with the maiden flight of its regional jet.
The aircraft took off in the central Japanese city of Nagoya, as seen in a live webcast. It landed about an hour later.
Mitsubishi pushed back the jet’s first flight by a few months but said the delay would not affect its planned commercial deliveries.
The project reflects a desire to turn Japan’s modern engineering and manufacturing prowess into a top-tier aircraft industry, some 70 years after Japan suspended making planes following its defeat in World War II.
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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and other major Japanese manufacturers are key suppliers for many aircraft parts and systems. But a large share of the components in the 70- to 90-seat Mitsubishi regional jet came from leading foreign suppliers.
Mitsubishi faces a stiff challenge in competing with Brazil’s Embraer, which dominates the difficult regional jet market, analysts say.