BOMBARDIER'S BOARD has approved the launch of the CRJ-X stretched, 70-seat derivative of the Canadair Regional Jet. Bombardier's Regional Aircraft division says that it has firm orders for the CRJ-X from "at least one" customer, although the manufacturer declines to give details.

The first flight is planned for March 1999, with certification and first deliveries scheduled for September 2000. The target price is $22-25 million, compared with around $20 million for the 50-seat Regional Jet. Two dimensionally identical versions are offered: an A model with 70 seats and a B model with 78 seats. The 32,000kg standard gross weight gives a 3,150km (1,700nm) range, while the optional increased gross weight of 34,000kg gives a range of 3,760km.

The CRJ-X will be assembled at the Canadair plant in Montreal, alongside the 50-seat Regional Jet and Challenger business jet. Bombardier has received a C$87 million ($65 million) loan from the Canadian Government's Technology Partnerships Programme to support CRJ-X development (Flight International, 30 October-5 November, 1996, P20).

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, already a risk-sharing partner on Bombardier's de Havilland Dash 8-400 and Global Express, is believed to be negotiating to take a major stake in the CRJ-X.

The Canadian company says that talks with partners have not yet been finalised. Bombardier UK subsidiary Shorts, in Northern Ireland, has already been selected to design and manufacture the forward and centre fuselage and the engine nacelles.

The CRJ-X fuselage has been stretched by 4.72m, the wingspan increased by 1.83m by inserting a root plug, leading-edge high-lift devices added and the horizontal tail enlarged.

The aircraft is powered by the -8C1 growth version of the Regional Jet's General Electric CF34 turbofan, which provides 57kN (12,670lb) of take-off thrust. A higher thrust level, of 61kN, utilising automatic power reserve, will be flat rated to ISA + 15 degrees C.

Source: Flight International