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Japan's Mitsubishi regional jet maiden test flight delayed again

[TOKYO] Mitsubishi Aircraft said on Friday it will delay the maiden test flight of Japan's first commercial jet in half a century by at least two weeks to fix a faulty pedal in the test plane's cockpit.

Already three years late, Mitsubishi Aircraft, which earlier this year pushed back the first test flight from June, is under pressure to get the aircraft ready for deliveries slated to start in June 2017 to Japan's biggest carrier ANA Holdings .

The rescheduled test flight will occur sometime during the second week of November, Mitsubishi Aircraft said in a press release.

The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries subsidiary, in which Toyota Motor Corp is an investor, is building the US$47-million regional jet with just under 100 seats in a bid to supplant Canada's Bombardier Inc as the world's second biggest maker of smaller passenger jetliners, behind Brazil's Embraer SA.

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So far the jet, called the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), has secured 223 firm orders from airline operators including ANA, and the most recent for 32 planes in January from Japan Airlines. The biggest order, for 100 aircraft, with a further 100 options is from Trans State Holdings, a closely-held company that operates three regional US airlines.