9:03 PM

What Took So Long
for This to Happen?


From the very first ride I took inside a CRJ, I was hooked. In those days, I flew out of Frespatch from FAT, where EMB 120 Brasilias were considered to be adaquate air transportation. So when I got a chance to travel via Regional Jet, it was definately a step WAY up from those tired old Skyworst Vibroliners.

The CRJ line has matured over the years since that first prototype flew on 10 May, 1991, and as you would expect, some of the -200 models are being "retired" from daily driving in and out of regional hubs. So it was only a matter of time before someone found a very good use for these "previously owned" birds. News out of the Dubai Air Show this week:

Project Phoenix Ltd. announced today at the Dubai Air Show, the launch of an innovative program to convert multiple Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jet aircraft from 50-seat airliner configuration to luxury VIP jets seating 12 to 19 passengers. The program has been conceived, with the assistance and support of several former senior Bombardier executives who make up Project Phoenix, to offer buyers of large executive aircraft a viable and cost-effective alternative to new business aircraft models in the 2,200 - 3,000 n.m range - for which new customers are having to wait for up to five years for a delivery slot.
The CRJ-Phoenix project just has a very good feel to it:
Project Phoenix pledges to retrofit a CRJ-200, fitting long range fuel tanks if so required, within eight months at a cost per unit $17.9 million ballpark. The program will take CRJ-200's from the secondary market and put them through a comprehensive maintenance upgrade, including an engine shop visit if required, before installing a new luxury interior and state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system (IFE). Avionics will be added as well as an additional fuel tank to allow the CRJ-Phoenix to conduct long-range flights. The initial focus is the Middle East, Asia and European markets, with the USA to follow later.
Someone who knows this airframe well is Former President of Bombardier Business Aircraft Sales, John Lawson, who is assisting in the start-up of Project Phoenix. He recently said this: "In the mid 90s, there was a 'Special Edition' program, based on the original Canadair RJ airframe, which resulted in a very desirable business aircraft. Regrettably, it had to be shelved when demand from the airline industry soaked up all available airframes. This program brings them back to the marketplace at an exceptionally attractive price point."

You can read how to buy your own personal CRJ here, and then check out the very aggressive specifications of the CRJ-200 here.

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