Bombardier targets July for CRJ-1000 first flight

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Bombardier Aerospace is targeting ‘sometimes in July’ for the first flight of its 100-seater CRJ1000 aircraft.

The Bombardier Aerospace’s Belfast facility has completed the fuselage assembly on the prototype and shipped it to the Montreal Mirabel facility, the final assembly line.

The manufacturer is dedicating dedicated several bays in its Belfast facility for the CRJ1000 model. “The CRJ1000 aircraft is longer than the CRJ700/900s and the machinery and tooling are different,” tells CAO George Dodds of Bombardier Aerospace. Doods says work on another aircraft has now started.

Speaking at the pre-Farnborough briefing in Belfast, Bombardier Aerospace president and COO Pierre Beaudoin says the first production aircraft will roll out “early next year”.

The CRJ1000 is scheduled to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2009.

So far the CRJ1000 programme has clocked 39 orders but none have emerged from the US market. Bombardier is confident that consolidation among US majors will drive renegotiation of pilot scope clauses, opening up an opportunity to place 100-seat aircraft at their regional partners.

“In the medium-term, the relaxation of pilot scope clauses appears to be trending from 50-seat aircraft toward 100-seat aircraft. These changes will progressively affect the regional airline industry over the next few years,” said Bombardier VP, strategy and business development Mairead Lavery.

Bombardier Business Aircraft president Steve Ridolfi says he believes that 100-seat aircraft will be operated by US regionals. “Scope clauses on 100-seat will happen,” he commented. “Remember when we launched our CRJ900 model, this aircraft was seen as a niche application. Today it is the core of our CRJ Next Gen sales,” he added.