It might not seem like a big deal that an airline bought 16 regional jets, but considering that China Express Airlines is the only specialized regional airline in the rapidly growing country, I think it is a pretty big deal. According to the press release below, the airline expects to triple the number of their routes in the next two years. That is some pretty serious growth in a region that is booming.
It is interesting to see how some of these countries are developing their airlines by learning from what has happened in the US. They have learned the value of regional airlines, and the important niche that they fill.
It is also fun to see the regional aircraft developing parallel to the much larger aircraft. It will be interesting to see how they will develop in the future, especially with the development of aircraft like the C-series.
Bombardier Aerospace announced today that China’s sole specialized regional airline, China Express Airlines, has placed a firm order for three CRJ900 NextGen airliners, as well as entered into conditional purchase agreements for five CRJ900 NextGen aircraft with options on an additional eight CRJ900 NextGen aircraft. China Express, based in Guiyang, Guizhou provides regional passenger services with its fleet of five CRJ200 aircraft and six CRJ900 NextGen aircraft. The airline made history last year by being the first to operate the CRJ900 aircraft in the country.
Based on the list price for the CRJ900 NextGen aircraft, the firm order is valued at approximately $134 million US. Should the conditional agreements for five CRJ900 NextGen and options on the additional eight CRJ900 NextGen aircraft be converted to firm orders, the value of the contract would increase to $733 million US.
“By 2016, we anticipate that the total number of China Express’ routes will reach approximately 90, three times as many as the number of existing routes, and will cover 60 per cent of China’s regional cities,” said Wu Longjiang, President, China Express. “We are confident that our fleet of Bombardier aircraft will be a very efficient and reliable asset in achieving these objectives.”
“With China’s growing economy, improved support infrastructure and expanding middle-class, regional air travel will be more accessible to Chinese citizens in more regions,” said Mike Arcamone, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “As demonstrated by China Express, the outstanding economics of Bombardier’s CRJ NextGen aircraft will allow airlines to profitably enter smaller tier-two and tier-three markets, providing efficient service to a growing demand from business and leisure travelers. We are delighted that China Express has once again put its trust in Bombardier.”
More than 140 Bombardier-produced aircraft, including CRJ Series and Q-Series commercial aircraft, as well as Learjet, Challenger and Global business jets are currently operating in Greater China.
As of September 30, 2013, Bombardier had recorded firm orders for 1,779 CRJ Series aircraft, including 306 CRJ900 and CRJ900 NextGen aircraft. Worldwide, CRJ Series aircraft are in service with more than 60 airlines and more than 30 customers operate corporate variants of the aircraft. The aircraft are operating in over 50 countries on six continents, and on average, a CRJ aircraft takes off every 10 seconds somewhere in the world. CRJ Series aircraft have transported more than 1.4 billion passengers and have logged more than 38 million flight hours and over 32 million takeoffs and landings.
CRJ900 NextGen aircraft
Like other members of the CRJ Series family of aircraft, the light weight and advanced aerodynamics of the CRJ900 NextGen regional jet combine to deliver improved efficiency and reduced operating costs compared to other aircraft in its class. The combination of a larger winglet and other optimizations since the launch of the CRJ900 aircraft, give the CRJ900 NextGen regional jet excellent airfield and en-route fuel consumption. All CRJ NextGen aircraft feature new interiors with larger overhead luggage bins, larger windows, improved lighting and redesigned ceiling panels and sidewalls.
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