LONDON – Bombardier has launched an all-new Regional Jet to complement its successful CRJ program. The 50-seater aircraft, dubbed CRJ550, has been unveiled today in Montreal.
This aircraft model will be the first triple-class 50 seat aircraft in the world, which will feature a new type certificate based on the CRJ700.
United Airlines is set to be the launch customer, with the order count to be labeled as “50 spacious, 50-seat Bombardier CRJ550 aircraft”, according to a release from United.
This particular release is part of United’s strategy to increase its Premium seat taking by 1,600, which is 50% more across over 100 of its aircraft.
It is understood that United’s regional partner, GoJet, will begin operating this aircraft type as early as the second half of 2019, which is subject to final agreements being made.
We do know that it will be configured in a three-cabin setup, offering 10 seats in United First, 20 in Economy Plus and 20 in the main cabin.
The CRJ550 will be 20% longer than United’s current 50-seat aircraft.
Fred Cromer, the President of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, stated that “the new CRJ550 model is the only solution in North America that can replace the existing fleet of aging 50-seaters, a marker 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,” he said.
The CRJ550 will be the only aircraft in the family to actually offer a triple-class setup across all market segments.
United Airlines, in particular, will benefit from the cockpit commonality starting from the CRJ200 all the way to the CRJ900.
The CRJ550 will please future operators, eliminating gate-checked bags with its improved and more spacious overhead bins.
This is a significant step of confidence for Bombardier, especially as there was significant talk about the manufacturer moving away from aerospace in more recent times.
The new planes will fly from United’s hub in Chicago-O’Hare. The airline’s CCO said that this upgrade is “a critical part of United rebuilding its service in small markets.”