MIAMI – Canadian manufacturer Bombardier is rolling out the final Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) from their plant in Mirabel, Quebec. Bombardier sold the line of regional jets to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in a deal finalized this past June.
The CRJ has been produced in its various iterations since 1991, and has been a staple in the short haul market. While production of the -100 and -200 variants stopped in 2006, the CRJ-700 series (consisting of the -700, -550, -900, and -1000 variants) has been built from 1999 until now.
Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation plans to integrate the CRJ series into their existing Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) ‘Spacejet’ program.
Bombardier Wants out of Commercial Aviation
The sale of the CRJ line to Mitsubishi joins a pair of other sales for Bombardier’s other airliner products. In November of 2018, the manufacturer sold the Q-series of turboprop regional aircraft to Viking Air. Bombardier first developed the Q-series from the Dash-8 series of aircraft, inherited from DeHavilland.
Additionally, Bombardier sold their first venture into the mainline airliner market, the CSeries, to Airbus. The CSeries was originally intended to compete with Boeing’s 737 product and the Airbus A320 series, before being sold to the very people they sought to rival.
Now that all three of Bombardier’s commercial offerings have been sold away, the manufacturer plans to focus solely on their business aircraft division, which consists of the Learjet, Challenger, and Global series.
What’s Next for the CRJ?
Since the sale has been finalized, the CRJ series has been converted to the MRJ brand. However, Bombardier continued to produce the aircraft remaining in the order backlog on behalf of Mitsubishi.
Now that the 1,945th and final aircraft has been completed, the assembly line will be closed. The last jet will be headed to fly for Endeavor Air, a wholly owned regional subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.
Mitsubishi’s strategy for buying the CRJ line was not for the airplanes themselves, but rather the airplane’s customers. The manufacturer’s own Spacejet program has been riddled with problems, ranging from inaccurate estimations in cost and production delays, to the jet being to large to make a meaningful breakthrough into the regional market in the United States.
Operationally, the CRJ series continues to be alive and well, and is anticipated to stay very active for years to come. Mitsubishi is likely hoping to curve the success of the CRJ into to order books for the Spacejet, and secure it a place in the lucrative regional jet scene in the US, which has been dominated by the CRJ and Embraer’s regional offerings for years.
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