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Airlines

Family affair

The CRJ1000 is built on a proven platform but has struggled to attract significant new orders, however, family associations are proving beneficial to operators. Angus Mackay and Stuart Rubin from ICF analyse
 

Bombardier’s CRJ1000, manufactured in standard and extended-range (ER) variants, is a stretched version of the CRJ700/900 models, which have proved relatively successful aircraft in terms of units sold.

 

First flown in 2008 and entering service in 2010 with Brit Air and Air Nostrum, the CRJ1000 represents the third fuselage extension of the venerable CRJ200. The type occupies a position between the CRJ900 and the recently developed C Series CS100.

 

Featuring uprated engines and landing gear, increased wing area and fuselage length, and a fly-by-wire rudder, the CRJ1000 has been developed to meet the needs of regional airlines for jets in the 90 to 110-seat market segment. Direct competition exists in the form of the Embraer 190, the Embraer 195, and the Sukhoi SSJ100, and soon from next technology aircraft like Embraer’s E2s and the Mitsubishi MRJ series.

 

Unlike its smaller siblings that have developed a sizeable market presence, the CRJ1000 in-service fleet is small at 61 units and the firm order backlog stood at just seven as of April 2018.

 

This contrasts sharply with the smaller CRJ700/900 variants, which have a combined in-service fleet of nearly 730 aircraft and a firm order backlog of 34 units with an additional 85 units on option. The in-service fleet of the competing Embraer 190/195 totals 664 aircraft and the firm order backlog stands at about 250 units, demonstrating the market’s acceptance and preference for the type.

 

In May 2018 American Airlines opted to sign a firm order for 15 new CRJ900 regional jets. The purchase agreement also includes options on an additional 15 aircraft. American has selected regional carrier PSA Airlines to operate the 15 CRJ900 in dual-class configuration with 76 seats, including 12 first class seats.

 

With relatively low operating and maintenance costs, the CRJ1000 benefits from strong family associations with the CRJ700/900 due to a common pilot type rating, as well as systems, flight deck and spares commonality allowing an operator of one to transition into another fleet type relatively easily.

 

In addition, the aircraft is generally priced lower than the competing products from Embraer and the type is said to offer fuel savings of up to 12% on a 1,000 nautical mile (nm) stage length, compared with competitive aircraft. Carrying 100 passengers, the CRJ1000 has a range of 1,425nm while the ER variant has a range of 1,622nm. Respective maximum take-off weights are 90,000 lbs and 91,800 lbs.

 

Market challenges for the CRJ1000 include a small fleet and operator base, which currently stands at four carriers (Air Nostrum, Arik Air, Garuda Indonesia, and HOP!) – none of which are located in the United States where the aircraft is largely sidelined by US pilot scope clause restrictions.

 

As a result, the CRJ1000 has failed to make inroads into regional or mainline fleets. Also, there is a general market preference for the Embraer product which features a larger fuselage cross section and offers more spacious interiors, increasing passenger comfort and promoting a more seamless transition from mainline aircraft. Values have experienced a marked fall in recent years and this trend is likely to continue. 


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