Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will close two of its three offices for aircraft subsidiary Mitsubishi Aircraft in North America. The closure will result in the loss of about 600 jobs.
The company will close the U.S. headquarters of Mitsubishi Aircraft in Renton, Washington, and another office that does design work in Canada’s Quebec. The test flight site in Washington state’s Moses Lake remains, but the number of staff will be reduced.
The two sites opened in 2019, ahead of the planned launch of SpaceJet, the Japanese-made regional jet. Estimates say these facilities have a few hundred employees. While Mitsubishi Heavy plans to relocate staff to Japan, local employment will be affected.
“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 said. “This will impact the majority of our employees in the United States. We have had to make difficult decisions that will significantly reduce our global activities and will have a major impact on our organization.”
The SpaceJet program has been beset with problems since it was first launched as the Mitsubishi Regional Jet in 2008. The program is many years behind schedule as well.
The 90-seat class aircraft was scheduled to be delivered after 2021, but mass production has been halted. Development of a 70-seat class planned to be delivered in 2023 also has ceased.
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