Bombardier has launched a new 50-seat variant of its CRJ series and recruited United Airlines as launch customer.

Dubbed the CRJ550, the variant have a "new type certificate based on the CRJ700", Bombardier says.

It adds that the new model will be the "first triple-class 50-seat aircraft" and have "ample onboard storage for carry-on bags and more passenger living space".

Bombardier indicates that the aircraft will have no galley, featuring instead a "self-serve beverage and snack station", and will allow "elimination of gate check bags".

The Canadian airframer says that United's commitment represents a "very important endorsement" for the CRJ family.

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Fred Cromer describes the CRJ550 as the "only solution in North America that can replace the existing fleet of ageing 50-seaters". This, he adds, is "a market of over 700 aircraft".