Eyeing sales of 50 planes over the next five years, Canadian aircraft major Bombardier is aggressively pitching its CRJ900 regional jet in India's burgeoning aviation market, saying it will change the way airlines operate.
'It's the quietest and most fuel efficient jet of its class. It's also got the lowest turnaround time (of 21 minutes). The more you're flying the more money you are making,' said Steve Crawley, Bombardier's vice president for Asia/Pacific sales, at a presentation here Wednesday for officials of state-owned Indian airlines and the media.
Pitching the CRJ900 against the Embraer E190 that Indian is also known to be considering, Crawley pointed out that fuel costs were up to 10 percent lower and operating costs up to 28 percent lower that the Brazilian competitor.
This apart, the passenger cabin offered headroom of 6'1', the highest in its class and usable cargo space of 95 percent against 65 percent for the Embraer, he stated.
With a range of 1,800 km, the CRJ900 can fly point-to-point to any destination in India and also to destinations like Bahrain and Colombo, Crawley added.
Indian airline officials said they were looking at a regional jet in a 'mid-term' scenario of about a year as a replacement for the ageing Boeing-737s of its subsidiary Alliance Air.
While Bombardier is offering a 75-seater configuration in a 10 first class/65 economy class combination, the CRJ900 also comes in an all-economy 90-seater version.
Powered by two rear-mounted General Electric CF-34-8C5 turbofans, the CRJ900 comes with a 'ticket price' of $35 million, but, as Crawley pointed out, this could come down to around $26 million depending on the configuration and the numbers involved.
The official felt Bombardier had entered the Indian aviation 'at just the right time.
'We are hoping to sell 50 aircraft over a five-year period.'
The world's third largest aircraft manufacturer after Boeing and Airbus, Bombardier introduced the concept of regional jets in 1991 with the CRJ100 that first flew in the Lufthansa CityLine livery in November 1992. This was followed by rollouts of the CRJ200, CRJ400, CRJ700, the CRJ705 and finally the CRJ900, which was officially launched at the Farnborough Air Show in July 2000.
Currently, private Indian operator Air Sahara is the only one to fly Bombardier aircraft in the country with seven CRJ200 planes.
Detailing the enhancements in the CRJ900 over the other aircraft in the stable, Crawley said these included a strengthened main landing gear, upgraded wheels and brakes, a strengthened wing, increased volume in the forward under-floor baggage hold and two additional over-wing exits.
Today, some 1,400 CRJ jets are flying worldwide, with the aircraft having almost totally replaced turboprops on domestic US routes