• Kyodo

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A new passenger jet being developed by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. is set to fly to the United States for the first time this month for certification tests, company officials said Monday.

Japan’s first domestically produced jet, dubbed Mitsubishi Regional Jet, is expected to make the 8,000-km journey from Nagoya airport to the Grant County International Airport in Washington state with fuel stops in Russia and Alaska, the officials said.

Mitsubishi Aircraft is aiming to start flight tests in the United States as early as September, using the airport as its base. The airport has a 4,100-meter runway and usually sunny weather throughout the year.

The company plans to send four of the five developmental MRJs to the United States eventually and conduct most of the test flights in the country as it requires a total of 2,500 hours of flight tests to obtain safety certification.

It is expected to take about one year to complete such tests, the officials said.

The MRJ made its maiden flight last November, but the first delivery to ANA Holdings Inc. has since been pushed back by around a year until mid-2018, after a string of delays stemming from changes in the design, manufacturing process and parts.

The 35-meter-long twin-engine aircraft will have 70 to 90 seats with a slim body design that reduces air resistance, helping it consume around 20 percent less fuel than other aircraft of similar size.

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