Bombardier is in the final stages of installing the first de-rated version of the General Electric CF34 engine on a GoJet CRJ700. Delivery is planned for late May. The installation launches Bombardier's plan to convert the CRJ700/900 family to a common engine based on the larger and more reliable 90-seat model's powerplant.

The conversion means the CRJ700's CF34-8C1 will be swapped for the CF34-8C5 during the aircraft's first shop visit on a "cost-neutral" basis, says Steve Ridolfi, president of commercial aircraft at Bombardier. The manufacturer adopted the common engine plan after durability problems with the CF34-8C1 plagued reliability rates for the CRJ700 during the introduction period. Bombardier previously said the common engine would reduce maintenance costs by 10-15%, but Ridolfi now says the potential savings is about 20%. Bombardier also is working to certificate a long-range CRJ700 powered by the CF34-8C5 by early 2006.

More than two years after the CRJ700 was first introduced, the fleet is approaching a 99% reliability standard, says Ridolfi. Bombardier is near completion of a project to install a second round of reliability-enhancing modification kits, which is expected to boost the fleet's overall score to 99.3%.

Source: Flight International