The Bombardier CRJ900 regional jet, a stretched derivative of the CRJ700 was announced in 1999. Assembly of the first production aircraft began in 2001.

The aircraft completed its first flight on 21 February 2001 at Montreal’s Mirabel International Airport. In February 2003, the first aircraft was delivered to Mesa Airlines, which has placed firm orders for 25 aircraft.

Total orders for the CRJ900 regional jet are 487 aircraft. A total of 436 were delivered by March 2019.

CRJ900 development

The aircraft has extensive commonality with other members of the CRJ family: the CRJ900 has common crew qualification (CCQ) with the CRJ200 and CRJ700, as well as a reconfigurable flight simulator, common maintenance and training procedures, spares and ground support equipment.

“The Bombardier CRJ900 is a stretched derivative of the CRJ700.”

The 86-seat CRJ900 is a stretched variant of the 70-seat CRJ700 with two fuselage plugs, one forward and one aft of the centre section.

Compared with the CRJ700, the CRJ900 has 5% higher thrust engines, strengthened main landing gear, upgraded wheels and brakes, a strengthened wing, increased volume in the forward underfloor baggage hold, an additional under-floor baggage door and two additional overwing exits.

For fast airport turnaround, an additional service door has been placed at the aft starboard side of the fuselage providing access for aircraft cleaning and galley replenishment crew, while passengers disembark through the forward passenger door.

In March 2005 Bombardier announced that it had upgraded the CRJ900 by redesigning the wing-tip and winglet as well as optimising the wing’s leading edge devices to provide lower lift / drag ratio and reduced-approach speeds. This results in improved payload range, improved take-off and landing performance and lower fuel costs.

Bombardier launched the Challenger 890, a corporate shuttle based on the CRJ900 in May 2005. The Challenger 890 accommodates 90 passengers in standard cabin, 52 in split cabin and 52 in deluxe cabin configuration. The aircraft entered service in February 2008, with Suncor Energy Inc of Calgary, Canada.

In May 2007, Bombardier announced the CRJ NextGen family aircraft, which have new cabin interiors, including larger passenger windows, more baggage space and LED lighting.

American Airlines is the first customer to benefit from the latest CRJ900 NextGen regional jet as it reduces the 5.5% fuel burn reduction compared to the CRJ900 aircraft. The first CRJ900 NextGen aircraft for American Airlines was unveiled in May 2014.

“The CRJ900 completed its first flight on 21 February 2001 at Montreal’s Mirabel Airport.”

American Airlines placed a $1.14bn order for 24 CRJ900 NextGen aircraft in February 2015. In May 2018, it placed a $719m order for the purchase of 15 CRJ900 aircraft, with options for an additional 15 aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2019.

There is also an increased use of resin transfer moulding (RTM) composites in the aircraft construction with reduced fuel consumption.

The first NextGen aircraft, the 75 to 90 seat CRJ900 NextGen, entered service with Northwest Airlines in June 2007. It is the bestseller among the CRJ NextGen series. The 66 to 68-seat CRJ700 NextGen entered service in 2009.

CRJ900 orders and deliveries

Duetsche Lufthansa of Germany placed a $317m worth order for eight CRJ900 NextGen aircraft in July 2010.

China Express Airlines confirmed a conditional order with Bombardier for six CRJ900 NextGen aircraft in February 2012. The order was finalised five months later. China Express Airlines placed an order worth $462.6m in December 2015 for the delivery of ten additional CRJ900 jets.

Bombardier Aerospace received a firm order from Rwandair for two CRJ900 NextGen aircraft in March 2012. The first of two aircraft was handed over in October 2012.

Bombardier Aerospace received a $727m worth firm order from an unknown customer for 16 CRJ900 NextGen aircraft in June 2014. The order also includes options for eight additional aircraft.

Macedonian airline and Tuninter own one CRJ900 each, Petroleum Air Services, Tatarstan and RwandAir own two CRJ900s each, Atlasjet and Estonian Air own three CRJ900s each, My Way airlines and Arik Air own four CRJ900s each, Adria Airways owns six, while Libyan and Lufthansa own eight CRJ900 aircraft each.

CityJet and Air One own ten CRJ900s each, whereas SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Trident Jet and Lufthansa CityLine own 12 aircraft each.

Air Nostrum own 11 aircraft, Pluna airlines own 13 CRJ900s, Lufthansa / Eurowings owns 15 CRJ900s, SkyWest owns 21 CRJ900s, Northwest Airlines owns 36, China Express owns 38, and Mesa owns 45 CJR900 aircraft.

Uganda Airlines placed orders for four aircraft, while Chorus Aviation ordered 14 aircraft, of which five have been delivered to date.

American Airlines placed orders for 69 aircraft of which 54 have been delivered and CIB Leasing placed orders for five CRJ900 aircraft.. Delta Connection received 44 CRJ900 aircraft, while Delta Air Lines placed orders for 60 aircraft of which 48 have been delivered.

An undisclosed customer placed orders for six CRJ900 aircraft. Uganda National Airlines Company placed an order for four Bombardier CRJ 900 jets.

Variants

The CRJ900 has a range of 2,956km, while its  long-range version named CRJ900LR has a range of 3,385km with a full passenger load.

The CRJ900ER European has been designed for services to European airports. The aircraft has a reduced maximum take-off weight (36,995kg as compared to 37,421kg for the CRJ900ER) to minimise the weight-sensitive charges at European airports.

Flight deck

The two-pilot flight deck is fitted with a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 six-tube Electronic Flight and Information System (EFIS) and an Engine Indication and Crew Alerting System (EICAS). The instrument panel has six 127mm x 178mm (5in x 7in) cathode ray tube displays.

The aircraft is equipped with a Flight Dynamics HGS 2000 head-up display and guidance system, a Rockwell Collins automatic heading reference system (AHRS), terrain collision avoidance system (TCAS) and a Rockwell Collins digital weather radar. The integrated avionics processor integrates the autopilot and flight management systems.

The windscreen and cockpit side windows are fitted with electric de-icing systems.

Cabin

The fuselage is of semi-monocoque design. The main cabin, by C&D Interiors, is nearly 21.6m in length with a centre-line width of 2.13m and the capability to seat up to 90 passengers. Standard seating is for 86 passengers with seats at 31in pitch (78.7cm) in a four-abreast configuration. Other interior layouts include two-class interiors with a mixed-seat pitch. The aircraft’s lighting is supplied by Hella Aerospace.

“The CRJ900 has a range of 2,774km.”

The rear baggage and under-floor baggage compartment provides a total baggage space of 25.17m³. The cabins are air-conditioned by a Liebherr air management system. GKN manufactured the tailcone and doors.

Bombardier introduced the atmosphere cabin design at the Farnborough International Air Show held in the UK in July 2018. The new design offers larger passenger living space, a wider aisle, larger window, and more cabin connectivity options. The wheel-first roller bag facility offers 50% more capacity.

Engines

The aircraft is powered by two General Electric CF34-8C5 turbofan engines fitted with full authority digital engine control (FADEC). They provide 58.4kN thrust at take-off. The engine nacelles, supplied by Bombardier Aerospace (Shorts Brothers) of Belfast are mounted on the sides of the rear section of the fuselage.

There are two integral wing fuel tanks with a fuel capacity of 11,148l. The Intertechnique fuel management system is fitted with Ratier-Figeac controls. The maximum usable fuel load is 8,823kg.

A Honeywell auxiliary power unit is installed in the tailcone. Electrical power is provided by a Hamilton Standard electrical generator with two integrated drive generators providing 40kVA.

Landing gear

The aircraft is fitted with Menasco Aerospace retractable tricycle-type landing gear. The CRJ900 landing gear is strengthened and is fitted with upgraded wheels and brakes compared with the CRJ700 in order to be compatible with the higher operating weights.