Japan draws up aircraft strategy after jet project failure

The government has announced a new draft strategy for the aircraft industry, taking lessons from the recent failure of a project to develop the first Japan-made passenger jet. The goal is to commercialize a next-generation, low-carbon airplane with hybrid or hydrogen-fueled engines as early as 2035.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries last year withdrew from a 15-year project to develop a passenger aircraft. This followed repeated failures to meet delivery deadlines, despite 50 billion yen, or 330 million dollars, in government funding.

Japan's industry ministry examined the shortcomings in the Mitsubishi Heavy project. It concluded the company lacked the experience to obtain safety certificates and to deal with overseas parts makers. This led to ballooning costs and delays in what was a very high-risk project for a private-sector company.

The new strategy stresses diversifying risk through international as well as public-private cooperation. It also calls for collaboration between businesses and research organizations to improve aircraft development expertise.