3:35 PM

The Natural
Evolution of
Air Travel

A couple of days ago, Bombardier announced the launch of its 100-Seat CRJ1000 Regional Jet, the next major step in the evolution of the CRJ Series aircraft family, the world's most successful family of regional aircraft.

There was a time – way back in 'the day' – when RJs were a brand new concept, and were truly “regional” in their capabilities. But in recent times, the Bombardier RJ family has grown longer and longer legs, with carriers like Skywest now flying them across the nation with increasingly longer routes. So the specs of the new CRJ1000 will be great news to them:

With a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 91,800 pounds, the CRJ1000 aircraft will offer a maximum range of 1,691 nautical miles with 100 passengers, under certain operating conditions. The new CRJ1000 regional jet is scheduled to enter service in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2009. First flight is scheduled for the summer of 2008.
I think this is brilliant for Bombardier, filling a market gap that is not currently served by any new airliners. From Aero-news Network:
At the moment, the 100-seat market is all-but-dominated by aged DC-9s, and the variations of the MD80-series. Boeing's 717 (a.k.a. MD95) is very similar to those planes, but with more fuel-efficient turbofans. None of those aircraft are produced today.
The CRJ1000 regional jet combines the proven platform, reliability and flexible cabin configurations of its predecessors with its closest competitor having up to 15 percent higher trip cash operating costs. Compared to the aforementioned older generation aircraft of similar passenger capacity currently in operation, the CRJ1000 will also respond to today's environmental needs by providing substantially lower fuel consumption and achieving up to 30 per cent reduced carbon dioxide engine emissions.

So let's review...the CRJ1000 carries a profitable amount of bodies, goes far enough to service profitable routes, and does so burning less fuel while spewing less CO2 emissions. That all sounds like the perfect recipe for the big carriers to embrace as they continue to scrape themselves off the bankruptcy court floor and generate enough green to again move their bottom lines from red to black.

Nice job, Bombardier! I've always been a huge fan of the RJ concept, and will look forward to my first ride in the -1000. I'll make a prediction here and now that it'll be a smooth, comfortable ride on a ship that climbs like a homesick angel and gets me where I need to be precisely when I need to be there.

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