MHi RJ Aviation Prepares After COVID

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An increase for MRO services

On November 1, Mitsubishi RJ Aviation announced plans to hire 240 people in Bridgeport, West Virginia. The company inherited these facilities when it acquired the CRJ program from Bombardier. This is a maintenance, repair and overhaul center (MRO). MHI RJ Aviation will hire avionics and mechanics as well as apprentices and material handlers.

The purpose of these hires is to meet the increased demand for Type C maintenance; at the beginning of the pandemic, airlines pulled older planes out of service. Many of these aircraft are or will soon be due for a C check. MHI RJ Aviation therefore anticipates that there will be strong demand during the second half of 2021. The company expects to have completed hires by the end of next spring. The number of employees at Bridgeport will therefore increase from around 300 to over 500.

The production of the CRJ

As the last CRJ progresses on the assembly line in Mirabel, the employees proceed with the line dismantling. The assembly jigs and tooling are carefully disassembled. Then everything is carefully packed in wooden crates and sent to storage in the Montreal region.

In addition, several CRJ support staff are much less busy due to COVID-19. MHI RJ Aviation would therefore take advantage of this greater availability to examine various options. An update of the avionics as well as a re-engine would be among the options studied. But at this time, these are only preliminary studies and there can be no assurance that MHI RJ will restart production of the CRJ. To date, the company has not had to invest large sums and it will be easy to stop everything.

For Mitsubishi, the question is what would be faster and cheaper: relaunch an updated CRJ or resume development of the SpaceJet.

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