DUBAI 2007: Two clients near LoI for VIP 'CRJ-Phoenix'

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Two initial customers are expected shortly to sign letters of intent to convert Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft into VIP-configured regional jets, under a programme developed by a company called Project Phoenix.

Under the plan, Project Phoenix will convert the 50-seat aircraft into the ‘CRJ-Phoenix’ seating 12-19 passengers. Options include long-range fuel tanks and work will be completed in around eight months.

The company claims it has 30 expressions of interest and hopes to seal two letters of intent shortly.

Project Phoenix, which detailed its plans at the Dubai air show, is aiming to capitalise on demand for long-range business jets for which customers might otherwise have to wait years in order to obtain a delivery slot.

It adds that the CRJ-Phoenix is intended to be a less-expensive alternative with conversion costs in the region of $18 million.

Canadian company Aerospace Concepts, based in Montreal, has been tasked with the sourcing, maintenance and completion of the aircraft while marketing will be handled by Action Aviation. Bombardier’s former sales

Project Phoenix president Mike Cappuccitti says: “The proven airframe, engines and multiple-redundancy systems of the CRJ200 – as well as its generous cabin size – make it an ideal candidate for a conversion programme.”

Aircraft are given maintenance upgrade and, if necessary, an engine-shop visit, before a new interior is fitted including in-flight entertainment systems. With additional fuel tanks the range can be extended to 3,000nm (5,560km).

Project Phoenix is aiming to secure custom from the Middle East, Asian and European markets before switching attention to the USA. The programme is being assisted by former Bombardier business aircraft sales chief John Lawson.