The Challenges—and Opportunities—Facing Regional Aviation

Posted by Alex Bellamy on Sep 5, 2019 1:14:36 AM

Regional aviation has never been more critical. It is foundational to the global aviation industry. Without it, there is simply no way that passengers could reliably travel to, from or between many of the markets it serves, which would come at a great detriment to the prosperity and quality of life of millions of people.

Our increasingly connected world relies on this capacity for real regional connectivity. In the United States, more than 40% of domestic flights serve regional routes—and development across Asia is forecast to skyrocket. This is not only a vital market, but one that presents real opportunity for the airlines that serve it.

And yet, the regional aviation industry is at a crossroads.

Passengers dread flying on today’s jets. Depending on the aircraft, they are some combination of uncomfortable, cramped and outdated. Meanwhile, airlines struggle to turn a profit on these routes because the platforms they are reliant on don’t deliver the value they need. It’s a lose-lose situation for both parties, and solutions have been in short supply – especially from established aerospace OEMs that serve this market.

Today’s products in the sub-100 seat segment aren’t optimized for current or future needs. But incumbent airframers have all but ignored this reality and left operators with no viable options for the future. There is no new generation of their aircraft waiting in the wings. Not only is that unacceptable for airlines and their passengers, but that reality runs counter to where the market is going.

Now, we are at the cusp of a moment that offers real opportunity for significant transformation. Change that will benefit regional airlines, their passengers and the aerospace companies that serve them. Collectively as an industry, we have to channel that change to our advantage.

The industry needs more than just new jets. It needs a new future. It needs an airframer that can provide improved comfort and better margins without compromise between the two. A partner for airlines that offers a strong vision for defining the foreseeable future of regional travel. A partner that will listen closely to the needs of those airlines and be responsive to them.

At Mitsubishi Aircraft, we’re committed to leading the transformation of the regional segment. We understand what’s at stake and have made investments in our business that allow us to move with the shifts in a dynamic market and have a product that will set a new standard for our customers, the SpaceJet family of aircraft.

The industry has evolved more quickly than many of us were expecting. Forecasts from just a few years ago have already been surpassed and consolidation among airlines and aerospace companies have left the industry looking much different than it ever has.

In an unpredictable industry, we can provide stability thanks to the leadership of our parent company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

SpaceJet not only directly addresses critical travel needs, but it ends the compromise between performance and passenger experience—creating new business potential for airlines and redefining expectations for passengers.

We’re prepared for what’s next and working every day to reinforce that preparedness. We are investing significantly in developing our customer support function as we prepare for entry into service. Our team is made up of experts from around the world, and we have an average of 25 years of experience in the industry. This leadership is guiding us forward and ensuring our standards are kept at the highest level within all of our customer support teams.

It’s clear that creating this new future won’t happen overnight. However, we believe in the promise of this industry and have taken steps to get us there. We’re committed to ushering in this new era of regional aviation along with the airlines that make it all possible.