Bombardier confident in new CRJ1000 orders

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Bombardier has delivered five of 49 on-order CRJ1000 NextGen aircraft to its two customers for the new 100-seat regional jet, and is optimistic it will secure more orders for the type.

The airframer on 14 December delivered its first production CRJ1000 to launch customer Air Nostrum, which has ordered 35, and to Air France subsidiary Brit Air.

Both carriers entered revenue service with CRJ1000s on 23 December.

"The CRJ1000 has been in [revenue] service for a month and clocking hours every day. It is doing even better than expected. The airlines have received compliments from passengers," says Bombardier CRJ programmes director Jean-Guy Blondin.

He says Bombardier is "talking to a number of people" and having "a number of good discussions right now" about CRJ1000 orders, but notes that the 49 firm orders secured for the CRJ1000 represents "the most successful" launch order figure for the Canadian airframer. "We had fewer orders on the [popular] CRJ700 and CRJ900 than we did with the CRJ1000."

Impacted by the global economic recession the last 24 months of CRJ sales have been relatively "flat", admits Blondin, but going forward the firm "sees positive signs". For instance, Bombardier believes pilot scope clauses in the United States - which limit the number of seats that can be flown by regional feeder carriers - will loosen up.

"There has been a bit of a lull [with regard pilot scope in the past] because of pilot furloughs at mainline carriers. As soon as there is [a clear] path for regional jet pilots to go to mainline, then scope will move. But when mainline pilots are afraid of jobs because of furloughs, then you don't see movement in scope."