Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation reveals that U.S. regional airline group Trans States Holdings (TSH) firmed its order for 50 Mitsubishi Regional Jets on December 27, 2010 and took options on another 50 aircraft.
TSH President Richard Leach visited Japan to attend a ceremony on February 1, 2011 in Nagoya to mark his company’s signing of the definitive purchase agreement for the 50 MRJs. Mitsubishi Aircraft says that after TSH signed a letter of intent for 50 MRJs in October 2009, TSH and Mitsubishi Aircraft have constantly exchanged views and strengthened their relationship.
For engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, which is supplying the PurePower PW1200G geared-turbofan engines that will power the MRJ, the TSH order represents 100 firm PW1200G engines powering the aircraft and eight spare engines, with deliveries scheduled to start in 2014. P&W also has options from TSH for up to 100 additional engines. In addition, Trans States Holdings has signed an exclusive 12-year maintenance contract with Pratt & Whitney for all the PW1200G engines.
Based in St. Louis, TSH owns and operates three independent airlines – Trans States Airlines, GoJet Airlines, and Compass Airlines, all of which have significant regional operations in North America. TSH carriers operate feeder services for United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and US Airways.
“We have been very excited about the MRJ program for a long time, and we are extremely pleased to conclude this major order on December 27 last year reaffirming the 100 aircraft commitment we made with our LOI,” says Leach. “Since that launch order, we have learned a lot about the quality of the Mitsubishi Aircraft team and the quality of the MRJ aircraft. Both have given us great confidence. In addition, many good things have happened with the MRJ itself. Mitsubishi Aircraft has entered the production drawing phase for the MRJ and continues to proceed with the manufacturing process.”
Adds Leach: “We are the first airline outside of Japan to purchase this exciting new aircraft, and we will be the first to place it into service in the US. We believe that the MRJ is a game-changing regional jet with its incredibly fuel-efficient next generation Pratt & Whitney PurePower geared-turbofan engines, together addressing the vital needs of the environment, as well as the critical needs of passengers and airline operators.”
Leach continues: “The MRJ will reduce fuel consumption, noise and NOx emissions—this means savings on operating costs. By combining the largest cabin in the regional jet market with the innovative seat design and very quiet cabin, we will be able to offer our passengers the best comfort of any regional jet.”
He adds: “As the largest privately owned regional airline holding company in America, we offer more than 500 daily flights servicing 93 cities and transport over 8 million passengers annually. We believe that the MRJ will be the ideal aircraft to provide the seamless quality of excellent service for mainline carriers they want and thus we anxiously look forward to the day when we will be operating this spectacular 21st Century regional jet on our routes.”
Mitsubishi Aircraft President Hideo Egawa remarks: “Concluding this major order with TSH, the leading company in United States, on December 27 last year has given confidence to our MRJ program. Customers around the world have high expectations for the MRJ. This will be an exceptional, ‘game changing’ aircraft of the 21st Century. Expectations and operational requirements are particularly high in the large and important U.S. market, where there are many routes with airlines operating 50- to 100-seat regional jets.”
Together with the June 2010 order for 25 aircraft (15 firm, 10 options) from All Nippon Airways, the TSH order brings total orders for the MRJ to 65 aircraft, with another 60 on option. Numerous other carriers around the world are expressing growing interest and enthusiasm for the MRJ, according to Mitsubishi Aircraft.
Established in 1998, Trans States Holdings, Inc. is the largest privately held regional-airline holding company in America. Its carrier Trans States Airlines (TSA), established in 1982 as Resort Air, currently operates as United Express and US Airways Express. TSA’s current fleet of 50-seat Embraer regional jets carried nearly 2.2 million passengers in 2010. Information regarding Trans States Airlines can be found at www.transstates.net.
GoJet Airlines began passenger service in 2005. It serves 30 cities as a United Express franchisee and 2.67 million passengers boarded GoJet’s fleet of 66-seat Bombardier CRJ700s in 2010. Visit www.gojetairlines.com for further information.
Founded in 2007, Compass Airlines operates as a Delta Connection franchisee, operating more than 170 flights each day to 35 airports in 20 states, as well as Canada and Mexico. Based at Minneapolis/St. Paul, the airline operates a fleet of 36 Embraer 175s. For more information, visit www.compassairline.com.