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Aerospace & Defense

Mitsubishi Aircraft chases ex-Bombardier talent via Canada site

New SpaceJet design center to hire local engineers to make up for delays

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been developing the SpaceJet, formerly the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, for more than a decade.   © Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' civil aviation unit will set up a Canadian design center, aiming to take advantage of downsizing at Bombardier to help ready the SpaceJet passenger plane for the market after years of delays.

The Montreal site announced Thursday will complement Mitsubishi Aircraft facilities in Japan's Aichi Prefecture. The unit also has sites in the U.S. state of Washington. The SpaceJet is undergoing American test flights to obtain the type certificate needed to fly commercially.

Competition for talent is fierce in the U.S., home to the likes of Boeing. Mitsubishi Aircraft concluded that finding engineers will be easier in Canada with Bombardier's retrenchment.

The SpaceJet is a rebranded Mitsubishi Regional Jet, whose initial deliveries have been postponed five times. The first 90-seat-class SpaceJet M90 is now slated for delivery in mid-2020.

The 70-seat-class M100 is being developed to meet U.S. standards for introduction to the North American market.

The Canadian design team will ensure that the SpaceJet makes up for the delays and help expand North American operations.

Mitsubishi Heavy agreed in June to purchase Bombardier's CRJ regional jet program.

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