Yesterday Bombardier launched a new variant of its CRJ family – the CRJ-550.
So. CRJ-550 The CRJ550 is a “new” CRJ Series aircraft model, with a new type certificate based on the CRJ700 – so yes – it’s based on an existing aircraft.
The plane is targeted at airlines who need to keep 50 seater aircraft flying, but need to move away from current platforms (such as the CRJ-200 and Embraer E-145 families).
United Airlines will be the first airline to take delivery of the type in a proposed three cabin layout, consisting of:
- 10 First Class Seats in a 2-1 layout
- 20 Economy Plus seats in 2-2 layout
- 20 Economy seats in a 2-2 layout
One highlight that Bombardier are keen to stress is the launch of a “self-serve beverage and snack station”. Which I’m sure will be useful for the short hops to and from places where no drinks service is offered, or if it gets too choppy on-board the plane.
In addition, United will fit a Wi-Fi solution to the plane and four storage closets – hopefully making gate checking a bad memory.
Bombardier states that the CRJ-550 will offer more overall legroom per seat than any other 50-seat aircraft flown by any U.S. carrier. However, I’ve not been able to confirm or deny this – mainly as details on the actual configurations are pretty scant at the moment.
Fifty Aircraft are due to head United Airlines way, which will operate out of Chicago O’Hare and Newark International in the first instance. It is expected they will be operated by GoJet.
Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft states:
“The new CRJ550 model is the only solution in North America that can replace the existing fleet of ageing 50-seaters, a market of over 700 aircraft”
It offers improved passenger experience with ample on-board storage for carry-on bags and more passenger living space. This is one more example of how we are focusing on creating value for our customers and a very important endorsement from United in regards to the CRJ platform.”
Re-purposing can be good
It seems that Bombardier are trying to drum up sales for the CRJ family (the last remaining directly owned commercial aerospace part of the group – with the C Series mostly sold off and the Dash series being sold at the moment).
The use of an existing frame to assist in a new mission is a good idea – it will require minimal type certificate work – and may even create a retro-fit market for the CRJ-700.
Whilst the CRJ is a favourite of some fleets (and considering the CRJ-550 will fit into existing operational commonalities without a problem), hopefully this version will address how… tight the aircraft can be when sat in one for hours on end.
And that’s entirely possible with some of the missions this plane could operate.
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