On Oct. 30, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. announced that it would freeze the SpaceJet project, underway at subsidiary Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. and aimed at developing the nation's first homegrown passenger jet aircraft, citing the plunge in air travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the suspension, the budget for the project will be slashed to ¥20 billion for the three years from April 2021 — about one-twentieth of the ¥370 billion allocated to the project from fiscal 2018 to fiscal 2020, which ends in March next year.

“I offer my profound apologies (to our clients) that the development has been delayed,” said MHI President Seiji Izumisawa in an online news conference.