Paul Lewis and Ramon Lopez/ WASHINGTON DC

The Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) Series 700 orderbook has been given a major end-of-year boost with the $580 million sale of 25 aircraft to US domestic carrier Horizon Air. The Canadian manufacturer has also secured another order for the smaller CRJ-200ER with the firming up of options from Atlantic Coast Airlines.

Horizon Air's contract increases the number of CRJ-700s on firm order to 96, says the company, more than doubling its total tally in the last four months of the year. Lufthansa CityLine ordered 10 CRJ-700s in September, followed by a Comair purchase in October of 20 aircraft as part of larger $1 billion CRJ order.

The Seattle-based carrier plans to use the new 70-seater to replace its 22 Fokker F28 Mk4000s between the second quarter of 2002 and late 2004 as aircraft leases expire. The airline had previously been looking at an industry proposal to re-engine and extend the life of the 68-seat Dutch aircraft.

"We plan to use the new aircraft on routes now flown by the F28s and we would also like to take advantage of the CRJ's longer range, but how we'll do that has yet to be decided," says Horizon. The airline now flies to 38 destinations in the US North-West, California, British Columbia and Alberta in Canada. It also operates 39 de Havilland Dash 8-100/200s.

Northwest Airlines, meanwhile, has announced an extension of its co-operation agreement with Horizon and parent carrier Alaska Airlines which encompasses codeshares and common use of ground handling facilities.

Alaska will also expand its relationship with the US carrier to include its international partners KLM and Air China, along with Continental Airlines.

Meanwhile, Atlantic Coast Airlines (ACA) has extended its codeshare pact with United Airlines for 10 more years, and has ordered a further 10 Canadair Regional Jets worth $210 million. The United Express carrier, headquartered at Washington's Dulles International, also took 10 options for the 50-seat CRJ-200ER.

ACA has ordered 43 of the twin turbofan regional aircraft made by Bombardier, 14 of which are in service. Nine more are scheduled for delivery in 1999.

It also operates 32 British Aerospace Jetstream 41 and 28 Jetstream 31 turboprops. The new CRJs will augment services on existing routes and provide for planned route expansion.

The new aircraft will be delivered between July 2000 and September 2001. The purchase converted 10 existing options. ACA continues to hold options for 27 additional CRJs. Bombardier's CRJ orderbook now totals 515.

Source: Flight International