Mitsubishi Heavy Industries closing down all U.S. SpaceJet facilities

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, parent company of Mitsubishi Aircraft, has announced that all facilities in America associated with the development of its SpiceJet aircraft are to close with the loss of approximately 600 jobs.

The recently rebranded SpaceJet project has been beset with problems since it was first launched as the Mitsubishi Regional Jet in 2008 and is many years behind schedule as well as frequently bleeding cash. In 2019 development costs ran at US$1.3 billion.

Closures involve the Renton and Moses Lake plants in Washington, with the loss of 400 and 200 jobs respectively. Mitsubishi’s aviation operations have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, especially its supply of major parts for Boeing jets.

“Due to the budget directives, Mitsubishi Aircraft will close its overseas locations and consolidate activities at its headquarters in Nagoya, Japan,” company spokesman Jeff Dronen told The Seattle Times via email. “This will impact the majority of our employees in the United States,” he said, adding: “We have had to make difficult decisions that will significantly reduce our global activities and will have a major impact on our organization.”

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