Divergent conditions in the regional airline business and the business jet realm have conspired to create a potential boon for completion companies involved in converting Bombardier CRJs into executive transports.
The Air Partner initiative at Biggin Hill comes as the airport reports business jet movements increased by 25 percent last year and it foresees 30-percent further growth this year. Additional infrastructure development at the southeast London site may draw on the proceeds of parent company Regional Airports’ planned disposal of its interest in Southend Airport on the north bank of the Thames river estuary east of London.
One of six Airbus-approved outfitters for its ACJ corporate jetliner family, Stork Fokker Services (Booth No. 875) is expanding its activities in the VIP/corporate completion market alongside competitors such as Jet Aviation, Lufthansa Technik and TAT’s Sabena Technics.
Transport Canada last month notified the FAA of a potentially dangerous fuel system defect in Bombardier’s new CRJ700 regional jet, prompting the U.S. agency to issue an emergency AD for the model. According to Transport Canada, CRJ700s may experience uncommanded fuel transfer between the wing tanks and the center tank, creating a condition in which the center tank can overfill and leak.
Technology Partnership Canada (TPC), a government-run supplier of high-tech research grants to Canadian companies, has awarded Thales Avionics Canada $9.9 million to develop fly-by-wire flight controls, enhanced vision systems (EVS) and required navigation performance (RNP)-based cockpit equipment for business jets and regional airliners.
The FAA awarded Bombardier’s 86-seat CRJ900 regional jet its U.S. type certificate on November 14, ostensibly paving the way for first delivery to Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group in April. Launch airline Mesa plans to fly the airplanes as America West Express under the auspices of Freedom Airlines, a new non-union subsidiary that launched CRJ700 services from Phoenix to Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., on October 26.
During the ERA assembly held last month in Salzburg, Austria, Rockwell Collins announced FAA certification of its HGS 4200 head-up guidance system (HGS) for use on Bombardier’s CRJ700 and of the HGS 4100 for the Canadian airframer’s Dash 8Q-400. U.S. West Coast operator Horizon Air supported both certification programs. German CRJ700 operator Lufthansa CityLine and French regional Brit Air also chose the HGS 4200.
Mesa Air Group’s designs for a new non-union subsidiary to fly its planned fleet of 64- and 84-seat jets continues to face stiff resistance from the powers that be within the Air Line Pilots Association, starting with none other than ALPA president Duane Woerth.
Lufthansa CityLine is looking at the Bombardier and Embraer regional jet families as alternatives to the firm order for sixty 728JETs that it had placed with airframer Fairchild Dornier. During the ERA assembly, the German regional’s managing director, Karl-Heinz Kopfle, said Bombardier’s CRJ700 and -900s are under consideration, as is the Embraer 170.
Amsafe, the Phoenix-based company producing an inflatable seat restraint certified for the CRJ700 and CRJ900 regional jets last year, expects to certify a version for general aviation aircraft by next summer. The Amsafe Aviation Inflatable Restraint (AAIR) resembles a normal three-point seatbelt in size and shape but contains an airbag that deploys away from the body upon sensing a sudden impact. The system is independent of aircraft power.