Bombardier unveils new, longer regional jet

Bombardier Inc. said it has 38 firm orders for a new, longer version of its CRJ regional jet aircraft, dubbed the CRJ1000. The new plane will carry up to 100 passengers.

Bombardier Inc. said Monday it will build the CRJ1000, a stretched, 100-seat version of its regional jet aircraft.

Montreal-based Bombardier said it has 38 firm orders, 15 of which are CRJ900 conversions, and 23 conditional orders and options.

Brit Air, a division of Air France, has placed a firm order for eight CRJ1000 aircraft, and has taken options on eight additional aircraft. Brit Air'sorder is worthat least $371 million US, which could rise to $768 million US if the airline exercises all its options.

My Way Airlines of Italy is converting 15 of its 19 CRJ900 regional jet orders to CRJ1000 regional jets. The conversion means the value of the contract will rise to $857 million US from $702 million US.

Another customer, which did not want to be identified, is buying 15 of the new aircraft, and has placed a conditional order for another 15.

Bombardier Aerospace president and chief operating officer Pierre Beaudoin said the company estimates it will have a market of about 400 units for the new CRJ1000.

The new plane is scheduled to go into service in the fourth quarter of 2009.

During a conference call with analysts and journalists, Beaudoin did not offer details on how many jobs might be created through the production of the CRJ1000, which will be built in Mirabel, Que.

Beaudoin noted that the CRJ1000 is aimed at regional airlines, while its proposed CSeries line of regional jets is aimed at mainline air carriers.

"They are two very different markets," Beaudoin said.

Beaudoin also said Bombardier will provide an update on the status of the CSeries in late March.