|CRJ100 / CRJ200|
|Role||Regional jet/Business jet|
|First flight||10 May 1991|
|Introduction||19 October 1992 with Lufthansa CityLine|
|Status||In service, no longer produced|
|Primary users||SkyWest Airlines|
US$18.3M (1994) (31.6M today)
|Bombardier Challenger 600 series|
|Variants||Bombardier CRJ700 series|
The Bombardier CRJ100 and CRJ200 (formerly known as the Canadair CRJ100 and CRJ200) is a family of regional airliners that was designed and manufactured by Bombardier Aerospace between 1991 and 2006. The CRJ was Canada's second civil jet airliner after the Avro Canada C102 Jetliner.
It was based on the Bombardier Challenger 600 series business jets. An initial effort to produce an enlarged 36-seat version of the aircraft, known as the Challenger 610E, was terminated during 1981. Shortly after Canadair's privatisation and sale to Bombardier, work on a stretched derivative was reinvigorated; during early 1989, the Canadair Regional Jet program was formally launched. On 10 May 1991, the first of three CRJ100 prototypes conducted its maiden flight. The type first entered service during the following year with its launch customer, German airline Lufthansa.
The initial variant, the CRJ100, was soon joined by another model, designated as the CRJ200. It was largely identical to the CRJ100, except for the installation of more efficient turbofan engines, which gave the aircraft lower fuel consumption, increased cruise altitude and cruise speed. During the 1990s, various additional versions and models of the type were developed and put into service. During the late 1990s, a substantially enlarged derivative of the airliner, referred to as the CRJ700, was developed; it was soon joined by the even larger CRJ900 and CRJ1000. During 2006, production of both the CRJ100 and CRJ200 came to an end; the majority of produced airliners have remained in revenue service to date. Additionally, several airlines have modernised their fleets to support extended service.
The CRJ family has its origins in the design of the earlier Canadair Challenger business jet. During the late 1970s, the relatively wide fuselage of the Challenger, which could comfortably seat a pair of passengers on each side of a central aisle, was observed by some Canadair officials to suggest that it would be somewhat straightforward to produce a stretch of the aircraft for the purpose of accommodating more seats. Accordingly, in 1980, the company publicised its proposal for an expanded model of the aircraft, designated as the Challenger 610E, which would have had seating for an additional 24 passengers. However, such a lengthening did not occur as a result of work on the programme being terminated during the following year.
Despite the cancellation of the 610E, neither the concept or general interest in the development of an enlarged derivative had disappeared. During 1987, the year following Canadair's sale to Bombardier, design studies commenced into options for producing a substantially more ambitious stretched configuration of the Challenger.
In July 1988, Canadair targeted a $13-14 million unit price, for a demand of over 1,000 by 1999. The 48-seat jet would be stretched over the Challenger by a 128 in (3.3 m) forward plug and a 112 in (2.8 m) aft plug. Over 300 mi (480 km) routes, the faster climb and cruise give it a one third time advantage to 50 min compared to similarly sized turboprops. The higher cost per seat of the RJ, of $270,000 each compared to $186,600, is balanced by its higher productivity.
During the spring of 1989, these investigations directly led to the formal launch of the Canadair Regional Jet program; it had been decided to retain the "Canadair" name despite the firm's purchase by Bombardier. The programme was launched with the aim of selling at least 400 aircraft.
The Regional Jet program benefitted from the support of the Canadian government. Reportedly, the break even point for the type was considered to be relatively low amongst its contemporaries; it has been speculated that the bankruptcy and purchase of Learjet by Bombardier during 1990 had allowed for the development costs of the Challenger to be written off, which in turn had the impact of substantially lowering the cost of the Regional Jet program. In addition, the projected operating costs of the budding airliner was lower than some of its turboprop-powered rivals, including the Fokker 50, the ATR-42, and the Bombardier Dash 8-300.
On 10 May 1991, the first of three development aircraft for the initial CRJ100 variant performed its first flight from Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, starting a 1,000h flight test program with three prototypes. During the following year, the type was awarded airworthiness certification; on 29 October 1992, initial deliveries to customers occurred later on that year. On 26 July 1993, the first prototype (C-FCRJ) was lost in a spin mishap near the Bombardier test center in Wichita, Kansas.
The initial model was followed by the CRJ100 ER subvariant, featuring 20 per cent greater range, and the CRJ100 LR subvariant, which possessed 40 per cent more range than the standard CRJ100. This sub-variant was developed with the purpose of more closely conforming with the requirements of both corporate and executive operators. A cargo door retrofit has been developed for the installation of former passenger-configured aircraft to extend the useful life of early-built CRJ100s.
The CRJ200 is almost identical to the earlier CRJ100 model, except for the adoption of more efficient engines; these new engines have been attributed as having provided the CRJ200 with several improvements in performance, such as lower fuel consumption, as well as an increase in cruise altitude and cruise speed. Bombardier had specifically designed the new model to provide better performance and efficiencies than any of its nearest competitors at that time. There is also a CRJ200 freighter version, designated as the CRJ200 PF (Package Freighter), which was developed in cooperation with Cascade Aerospace on the request of Scandinavian operator West Air Sweden.
During 1995, Bombardier embarked on design studies and a detailed market evaluation on the topic of producing a substantially enlarged derivative of the CRJ200. These efforts quickly transitioned into a $450 million program to produce such an aircraft, which was produced as the CRJ700. Many areas of commonality, such as the design of the cockpit, were retained between the CRJ200 and its newer, larger brethren, but various new systems and structures, such as an all-new wing, were incorporated into the design as well. Capable of seating up to 70 passengers, the first of these aircraft was delivered during 2001; the CRJ700 was soon joined by the even larger CRJ900 and CRJ1000 models.
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The Bombardier CRJ100 and CRJ200 are a family of jet-propelled regional airliners, based upon the design of the Challenger CL-600 business jet. Roughly, the CL-600 was stretched 5.92 metres (19 feet 5 inches), which was achieved using fuselage plugs fore and aft of the wing, and was matched with the adoption of a reinforced and modified wing, an expanded fuel capacity, improved landing gear to handle the higher weights, and an additional pair of emergency exit doors. When installed in a typical seating configuration, the CRJ100 would accommodate 50 passengers; while in a maximum configuration, 52 passengers could be accommodated. It was powered by a pair of General Electric CF34-3A1 turbofan engines, each of which was capable of generating up to 41.0 kN (4,180 kgp / 9,220 lbf) of thrust. The CRJ100 featured a Collins-built ProLine 4 avionics suite, including a weather radar.
German airline Lufthansa CityLine, a subsidiary of the nations flag carrier operator Lufthansa, served as the launch customer for the CRJ100. Throughout the type's production life, it continued to be a major customer of the CRJ series. During 2001, following Lufthansa's acquisition of 25 per cent of regional airliner Eurowings, the airline ordered 15 CRJ200s with options for 30 more as part of a strategic move towards fleet commonality with Lufthansa Skyline.
During the airliner's first 100 days of operational service, the CRJ100 performed a total of 1,237 flights, during which it reportedly achieved a 99 per cent dispatch reliability while its fuel economy was reportedly 8 per cent superior to the originally projected figure. According to aviation author Dean Roberts, the CRJ100 had benefitted greatly from an industry-wide shift towards hub-and-spoke networks in the United States, which had resulted from the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. Considerable demand across the North American market was experienced by both the CRJ100 and the CRJ200. The smaller size of the regional jets meant than, unlike traditional narrowbody jets, they could be used at the majority of secondary airports and avoid traditional hubs.
Soon after the entry to service of the longer range CRJ200, the model proven to be a commercial success as well. According to aerospace publication Flight International, 1999 was a record year in terms of aircraft deliveries by Bombardier. Writing around this time, authors Bijan Vasigh, Reza Taleghani, and Darryl Jenkins declared that "the CRJ program [is] one of the most successful regional aircraft programs in the world". By the end of 2000, perhaps the most significant operators of the CRJ100 included the American airline Comair, German short-haul operator Lufthansa Cityline, and French regional airline Brit Air; of its CRJ200 sibling, key operators by this time included Delta Connection, SkyWest Airlines, and Independence Air.
During early 1999, Bombardier announced the biggest ever order in the company's history; issued by Northwest Airlines, it involved a firm order for 54 CRJ200LRs along with options for a further 70 aircraft for $1.3 billion. In response to customer demand, the company stated that it was to increase production at its Montreal assembly line from 75 to 90 aircraft per year before the end of the year. By 2001, a total of 516 airliners were reportedly on order, of which 272 had been delivered. To address the backlog of nearly 250 aircraft, Bombardier worked in increase the rate of production from 9.5 regional jets per month to 12.5 regional jets. The boom in regional jets did not exclusively benefit the CRJ series; simultaneously, Brazilian manufacturer and rival firm Embraer also worked to increase their output of regional jets.
For a time, the CRJ series was viewed by Bombardier as a means of entering new markets; around the turn of the century, considerable sales focus to the Asia Pacific region was implemented, leading to several sales of regional jets to airlines in nations such as China and Japan. The company's sales strategy was augmented by the availability of financing from the Canadian government, via which means customers of the CRJ would sometimes partially-finance their purchase. In order to appropriately provide services to the diverse customers for the CRJ series, Bombardier invested in a series of support facilities throughout the world.
The American operator Delta Connection was a major source of orders for the CRJ200 early on; during April 2000, it was announced that the airline had placed a $10 billion order for 500 CRJs to meet its needs and its subsidiaries, these were a combination of CRJ200s and CRJ700s. According to Flight International, during early 2000, Delta was operating more regional jets than any other North American airline. By June 2003, the airliner operated a fleet of 223 CRJs and was ordering yet more of the type. Delta's influence on the fortunes of the CRJ program was significant, during late 2004, when Bombardier announced an incoming cut in the type's production rate, amongst the reasons given was a delay in anticipated orders for additional CRJ200s. A CRJ200ER delivered in 2003 had a $21 million value.
The American holding company Pinnacle Airlines Corporation operated a fleet of CRJ200s. Outfitted with a 44-seat configuration, designated as the CRJ440, these aircraft had closets in the forward areas of the passenger cabin, though these were later converted to 50 seat airplanes. These modifications were designed to allow operations under their major airline contract "scope clause" which restricted major airlines' connection carriers from operating equipment carrying 50 or more passengers to guard against usurpation of Air Line Pilots Association and Allied Pilots Association pilots' union contract; these scope clauses have been since relaxed when union contracts were re-written between unions and the three remaining U.S. legacy carriers. Similarly, Comair's fleet of 40-seat CRJ200s were sold at a discounted price to discourage Comair from purchasing the less expensive and smaller Embraer 135.
During the middle of the 2000s, Bombardier's commercial aircraft division had incurred persistent operational losses, which motivated management to initiate restructuring and cost-cutting efforts. As such, during 2004, repeated cuts to the production rate of the CRJ100/200 series were announced in conjunction with declining market forecasts, which had the effect of narrowing the division's losses. The company soon adopted a new market strategy, prioritising the newer and larger CRJ700 and its direct derivatives over other products, such as its turboprop range and the older CRJ100 and CRJ200 models that had spawned them. During early 2006, Bombardier terminated its activity on the CRJ program and the production line was closed down; according to Pierre Beaudoin, president and chief operating officer at Bombardier Aerospace, the decision was difficult but necessary for profitability.
While no further CRJ100 or CRJ200 jet liners have been constructed since 2006, over the years since then, various technologies and innovations have been retrofitted onto examples of the type, which have largely remained in commercial service. Some of the operators of the larger versions, such as the CRJ700, have undertaken work to install Wi-Fi capabilities on board the type; however, to date, no airlines operating the CRJ200/100 had chosen to implement an onboard Wi-Fi compatibility.[page needed]
By 2013, fuel costs have made smaller 50-seat regional jets uneconomical on many US routes, accelerating the retirement of young CRJ100/200s, and lowering the ERJ-135/145 values. The last aircraft delivered had a value of $22 million, falling to $2 million 13 years later due to their operator concentration in the US. Airlines are replacing their CRJs with more modern and larger airliners like the Embraer E-Jet and Bombardier CRJ700 series.
Several models of the CRJ have been produced, ranging in capacity from 40 to 50 passengers. The Regional Jet designations are marketing names and the official designation is CL-600-2B19.
1021 CRJ100/200 have been ordered and delivered: 226 CRJ100s, 709 CRJ200s and 86 CRJ440s. In July 2018, 498 CRJ100/200 were in airline service: 407 in North America, 58 in Europe, 16 in Africa, 16 in Asia Pacific and 1 in the Middle East. Operators with 10 or more are:
|Crew||3-4 : 2 Flight Crew + 1-2 cabin crew|
|Cabin height||6 ft 1 in / 1.85 m|
|Cabin width||8 ft 3 in / 2.53 m|
|Length||87 ft 10 in / 26.77 m|
|Wingspan||69 ft 6 in / 21.21 m|
|Height||20 ft 8 in / 6.22 m|
|Wing area||520.4 ft² / 48.35 m²|
|Fuselage diameter||8 ft 10 in / 2.69 m|
|Operating empty||30,500 lb / 13,835 kg|
|Max payload||13,500 lb / 6,124 kg|
|Max fuel||2,135 US gal / 8,081 L - 14,305 lb (6,489 kg)|
|Max Take Off||LR : 53,000 lb / 24,041 kg[a]|
|Engines (2x)||GE CF34-3A1||GE CF34-3B1|
|Takeoff thrust (2x)||8,729 lbf / 38.84 kN|
|50 pax range||LR : 1,650 nmi / 3,056 km[b]||LR: 1,700 nmi /3,148 km[c]|
|Normal cruise||M0.74 : 785 km/h (424 kn)|
|High-speed cruise||M0.81 : 860 km/h (460 kn)|
|Service ceiling||41,000 ft / 12,496 m|
|Takeoff (SL, ISA, MTOW)||LR: 6,290 ft / 1,920 m[d]|
|Landing (SL, MLW)||4,850 ft / 1,480 m|
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Lufthansa CityLine signed an agreement in December for eight additionnal RJs valued at C$200 million ($146 million).
Aircraft are retiring younger, but will that last?