Contingents from France’s Brit Air and Spain’s Air Nostrum joined Bombardier executives in Mirabel, Quebec, last month to mark the first deliveries of the newly certified CRJ1000. Together accounting for roughly half of the remaining CRJ backlog, Brit Air and Air Nostrum have placed firm orders for 14 and 35 copies of the new 100-seat jet, respectively. Brit Air said it planned to place its first airplane into service on its Lyon-Rome route during the holiday season.
Any lingering frustration over delivery delays due to problems Bombardier experienced with the CRJ1000’s control-by-wire rudder system during certification testing appeared to have lifted by the time Brit Air CEO Marc Lamidey and Air Nostrum general manager Miguel Ángel Falcón arrived at the manufacturer’s Montreal-area facilities.
“Their cost of operation, reliability, wide passenger acceptance and ability to offer seamless connection to Air France/KLM mainline flights are all major plusses,” said Lamidey of the CRJ series, some 35 of which the airline already operates. “The larger CRJ1000 NextGen can only help to enhance these competitive advantages.” Brit Air expects to take delivery of three more CRJ1000s this month.
Fellow launch customer Air Nostrum has now ordered 81 CRJs in all, along with 19 of Bombardier’s Q Series turboprops. “The accolades Air Nostrum has received yearly since its start-up in 1994 are a testament to our operational expertise, customer satisfaction and the performance and reliability of our fleet of more than 60 Bombardier aircraft,” said Air Nostrum’s Falcón. “We are excited about putting the CRJ1000 NextGen aircraft into revenue service.”
Launched in February 2007, the CRJ1000 entered flight-test on Sept. 3, 2008. By early in the summer of 2009, however, the program encountered a software “glitch” associated with the airplane’s new control-by-wire rudder system. After Bombardier thought it found a solution to the problem, another software fault surfaced in early August 2009, effectively grounding the program’s two flight-test aircraft until last February 13.
After the first prototype accumulated some 1,400 flight hours during 470 test missions, the type finally gained Transport Canada and EASA certification in early November.
Using a pair of fuselage plugs to achieve a 9-foot, 8-inch stretch of the 88-seat CRJ900, Bombardier also increased the airplane’s wing area with a 7.5-percent trailing-edge extension and a 26-inch wing-tip extension. Powered by the same GE CF34-8C5 engines used on the CRJ700 and CRJ900, the CRJ1000 comes in three thrust variants, the highest of which allows for 5 percent more thrust than the standard variant offers. Along with the new control-by-wire rudder system, the CRJ1000 uses carbon, rather than steel, brakes and offers larger forward and aft baggage compartments. Bombardier also updated the CRJ1000’s avionics suite with an improved FMS and new Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 digital radios.