Bombardier Aerospace today delivered the 1,000th CRJ regional jet. The aircraft, a 70-seat CRJ700*, was handed over to Delta Connection carrier Comair in a ceremony at Bombardier's facility in Dorval. Delta Connection is the operator of the world's largest CRJ fleet with 259 CRJ200* and CRJ700 aircraft, and Comair was the first customer to launch regional jet service in North America in 1993.
The CRJ* is the most successful regional aircraft program in history and is the only regional airline aircraft program to reach 1,000 deliveries. Only larger jet transports such as the Boeing jet family and the Airbus A320 family have been delivered in such numbers.
"The CRJ now stands beside the Douglas DC-3 and the Boeing 707 as an airplane that revolutionized the way the world flies," said Pierre Beaudoin, president and chief operating officer, Bombardier Aerospace. "We are proud that the trend-setting CRJ was designed and is produced in Canada by Canadians. The success of the CRJ program is the result of a strong partnership between our customers, the government of Canada, our suppliers, and Bombardier's employees."
Mr. Beaudoin was joined at the delivery ceremony held at Bombardier's Dorval plant by Laurent Beaudoin, executive chairman of the board, Bombardier Inc.; Steven A. Ridolfi, president, Bombardier Aerospace, Regional Aircraft; Fred Buttrell, president, Delta Connection and Randy Rademacher, president, Comair.
What began in the mid-1980s as a bold step into unchartered territory - there was no apparent market for a regional jet - sparked a revolution in airline transportation, a revolution that continues today as the regional jet spearheads the turnaround in the airline industry's fortunes.
"Bombardier CRJs have been instrumental in Delta's ability to build the industry's leading regional jet program," said Fred Buttrell, president and chief executive officer, Delta Connection Inc. "Starting with Comair, and continuing on with other carriers, regional jets provide service options that otherwise would not be available to millions of customers and the communities where they live."
"Using small jets to link smaller communities to large airline hubs was an idea that Comair had been pursuing for a long time," said Randy Rademacher, president, Comair. "The people of Bombardier stepped forward 10 years ago to provide the technology that let the vision become reality. How fitting that Comair hits the 10-million customer mark, and Bombardier its 1,000th CRJ in the same year we both celebrated the 10-year anniversary of CRJs in North America."
The revolution in air travel begun by the Bombardier CRJ a decade ago sees no sign of abating. Regional jets allow airlines to replace and complement larger jet aircraft on routes with poor to marginal performance, which then can be re-deployed to operate in more profitable destinations. As a result, regional airline traffic growth in the U.S. averaged 12.3 per cent per year between 1978 and 2000, with its share of total passengers growing from five per cent to 16 percent over the same period. Between April 2000 and April 2003, regional jet seat capacity in the U.S. grew by 97 per cent.
"The data demonstrates that the CRJ revolution is continuing and that the pioneering Bombardier CRJ remains an indispensable tool in the arsenal for many airlines," said Steven A. Ridolfi, president, Bombardier Aerospace, Regional Aircraft. "The Bombardier CRJ truly changed the way the world flies and also changed the way airlines structured their operations for lower cost, more efficient and profitable jet services."
Bombardier continued to spearhead this revolution with the introduction of larger size CRJ aircraft and established the only true family of regional jets with various seating capacities - all of which were the first in their category to reach the market. The Bombardier CRJ family has grown from the initial 50-seat aircraft to the 44-seat CRJ440*, 70-seat CRJ700 Series 701*, 75-seat CRJ700 Series 705* and 86-seat CRJ900*, underscoring the opportunities for even lower operating costs and increased profit advantages for regional carriers.
Bombardier launched the CRJ program on March 31, 1989 on the strength of 56 firm orders and six options. The CRJ made its first flight on May 10, 1991 and received Transport Canada aircraft type approval on July 31, 1992, followed by U.S. and European approvals early in 1993. The CRJ entered revenue service with launch customer Lufthansa CityLine on November 1, 1992. Comair launched CRJ service in the U.S. on June 1, 1993.
Today, firm orders for the CRJ stand at 1,289 aircraft with 1,000 delivered. Conditional orders and options could bring the program total to 2,578. The CRJ has been ordered by 37 customers in over 20 countries throughout the Asia Pacific region, Africa, Europe, North America and South America.
Bombardier Aerospace, a unit of Bombardier Inc., is a world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative aviation products and provides services for the regional, business and amphibious aircraft markets. It also offers Bombardier Flexjet* and Bombardier Skyjet* business aircraft programs, technical services, and aircraft maintenance and pilot training for business, regional airline and military customers.
Bombardier Inc., a diversified manufacturing and services company, is a world-leading manufacturer of business jets, regional aircraft, rail transportation equipment and motorized recreational products. It also provides financial services and asset management in business areas aligned with its core expertise. Headquartered in Montréal, Canada, the Corporation has a workforce of some 75,000 people and manufacturing facilities in 25 countries throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2003 stood at $23.7 billion Cdn. Bombardier shares are traded on the Toronto, Brussels and Frankfurt stock exchanges (BBD, BOM and BBDd.F).
* Trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries.
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