FAA Approves Longer CRJ Maintenance Intervals

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The U.S. Federal Aviation Agency has approved the escalation of the maintenance intervals in the Bombardier CRJ700, CRJ900, and CRJ1000 to 800 flight hours for A Checks and 8,000 hours for C Checks, the Canadian manufacturer announced Monday.

The changes extend the models’ line maintenance and heavy maintenance intervals for the second time since the launch of the CRJ700 in 1997, when specifications called for A Checks every 400 hours and C Checks every 4,500 hours. In 2011, the FAA increased the intervals to 650 hours and 6,500 hours, respectively.

The latest intervals apply to new production deliveries as well as all CRJ700s, CRJ900s, and CRJ1000s already in service.

“We are thrilled that our operators are benefitting from our continuous improvement mindset as with this evolution, the CRJ series operators can now take advantage of 14 percent fewer maintenance days, meaning more days of revenue flying,” said CRJ series program head Charles Comtois.

Since Bombardier ceded control of its C Series program to Airbus over the summer, the Canadian company has redoubled efforts to market its nearly three-decade-old regional jet program with both performance and comfort improvements. In fact, the Bombardier CRJ regional jets have enjoyed something of a sales renaissance, most recently evidenced by Delta Air Line’s firm order in June for 20 CRJ900s and American Airlines’ order in May for 15. The orders effectively doubled Bombardier’s CRJ sales backlog, which stood at just 36 on March 31.

Various incremental improvements in engine performance have lowered operating costs as well, and since 2010 Bombardier has managed to cut fuel burn in the CRJ by some 6.5 percent.

The company has also addressed perhaps the biggest perceived deficiency in the airplane compared with the Embraer E-Jets—its interior—with last year’s launch of the Atmosphere cabin. Delivered for the first time on September 21 in a new CRJ900 operated by U.S. regional airline SkyWest, the new interior features bins that measure 50 percent larger in business class and 40 percent larger in economy, allowing for “wheels first” placement of oversize roller bags. Other features include a wider entrance and a six-inch wider aisle leading to the business class section, 4.5 inches of additional shoulder space at the window seats, larger windows, and full LED lighting. Finally, the larger lavatory allows for a full PRM (passengers with reduced mobility) access option, three inches of additional headroom and 90 percent more floor space.

A SkyWest Bombardier CRJ900 takes off from Salt Lake City International Airport. (Photo: Flickr: Creative Commons (BY-SA) by redlegsfan21)

A SkyWest Bombardier CRJ900 takes off from Salt Lake City International Airport. (Photo: Flickr: Creative Commons (BY-SA) by redlegsfan21)

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