Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. has unveiled a new regional jet variant tailored specifically for the size limitations of the U.S. market. 

The announcement, made by the company in advance of the Paris Air Show next week, also came as it officially branded its regional jet line the Mitsubishi SpaceJet. 

The line is to include the larger M90 88-seat variant, which has been on sale as the MRJ90 since 2008, and the newly announced SpaceJet M100, which has 76 seats in a standard three-class configuration and 84 seats in a standard single-class configuration. 

Mitsubishi expects to make the first deliveries of the long-delayed M90 variant in 2020. Among other airlines, it has taken 100 firm orders from regional operator SkyWest and 50 firm orders from regional Trans State Holdings, parent of U.S. regional operators Compass, GoJet and Trans States. 

Mitsubishi is moving into a regional aircraft market dominated by Brazil's Embraer, which is in the process of merging with Boeing. Bombardier is the second-largest regional aircraft manufacturer, but it is looking to sell its regional CRJ division, potentially to Mitsubishi. The company confirmed in a statement last week that it is in discussions with Mitsubishi concerning the CRJ program. 

By announcing its intent to develop the SpaceJet M100 as a slightly smaller version of the M90, Mitsubishi is making a direct play for the U.S. regional market. Under so-called scope agreements that pilot unions at American, Delta and United have negotiated with the airlines, regional jets are capped at 76 seats and can only comprise a designated portion of airline fleets. The pilot unions negotiate scope clauses to limit the amount of outsourcing mainline carriers can do with regional carriers, where pay is much lower. 

Mitsubishi said the M100 will offer the widest and tallest cabin in its class as well as the roomiest economy seat and overhead bin capacity to accommodate one rolling bag per passenger. Comfort features will include a standard 2-2 economy configuration -- so no middle seats-- and a standard economy seat width of 18.5 inches. By comparison, airlines often equip their 76-seat Embraer ERJ-175s with seats that have widths of 18.2 or 18.3 inches.

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