Abe may plug new Mitsubishi jet

Kyodo

The government may purchase the Mitsubishi Regional Jet for the prime minister to use on domestic and short-haul overseas trips.

If the acquisition goes through, the MRJ passenger jet, currently under development by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp., would allow Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to travel around Japan and visit neighboring nations more efficiently than via commercial aircraft, government sources said Friday.

The government currently has two Boeing 747s that are used mostly for overseas trips by the prime minister and members of the Imperial family.

Mitsubishi Aircraft has received orders for 325 MRJs from airlines including All Nippon Airways Co. and SkyWest Airlines Inc. of the United States. But a delay in the development process has pushed back scheduled test flights from 2012 to the final quarter of this year.