Mitsubishi Spreads Its Wings

The Asian company wants to break the West’s lock on aircraft manufacturing. It’s not alone
Photo Illustration by 731; iStockPhoto; Courtesy Mitsubishi

The debut of a regional jet on Oct. 18 had all the glitz of a big-league airplane rollout. Strobe lights flashed, music blared, and a children’s choir sang, while government officials and airline executives listened to marketing pitches about the plane. But rather than gathering in Boeing’s base in Seattle or at Airbus Group’s huge complex near Toulouse, France, these aerospace glitterati had converged on Nagoya, Japan. In a hangar near Mitsubishi Aircraft’s plant there, the Japanese manufacturer rolled out its 92-passenger Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) in a bid to elbow its way into the tight club of global airplane makers—a club Western companies have long dominated.

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