Despite selling its CSeries regional jetliner program to Airbus last year amid financial difficulties, Bombardier’s commercial aircraft division has decided to hold onto its CRJ family, launching a new airplane, the 50-seat CRJ550.
Based on the type certificate for the CRJ700, the new model offers three seating classes, inflight Wi-Fi and a "self-serve beverage and snack station." United Airlines is the launch customer of the new model.
“The new CRJ550 model is the only solution in North America that can replace the existing fleet of aging 50-seaters, a market of over 700 aircraft,” said Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “It offers improved passenger experience with ample onboard 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.”
United has opted to configure its CRJ550s with 10 first-class seats, 20 economy-plus seats and 20 economy-class seats. Each aircraft will be equipped with Wi-Fi, although the self-serve beverage and snack station will be available only to first-class passengers. Bombardier also said the CRJ550 will feature more legroom per passenger than other 50-seat aircraft flown by U.S. carriers.
One of the benefits of the CRJ550 will be leveraging cockpit commonality from the CRJ200 to the CRJ900.
United has 50 CRJ550s on order, which will be operated by its regional partner GoJet. Deliveries are expected to begin later this year with the first 25 CRJ550s in service by the end of the year, and the remaining 25 aircraft joining its fleet by the summer of 2020.