Regional Jets are a frequent flyers second worst nightmare (only behind the Beechcraft 1900). Needless to say passengers will do their absolute best to avoid them. Anyone who has even been on a commercial flight would probably choose a two hour flight on an A319 over a CRJ-700 any day. Currently there is really only one Regional Jet (RJ) that is not horrible for passengers. The E-jet series by Embraer is not bad and not really even worth avoiding. With it’s new more roomy cabin the E-Jets can be very nice for a passengers and some people even say they are like riding mini A320s and 737s. The issue here is that the E-Jet is the ONLY nice RJ and passengers need an alternative.
There is a new breed of RJ aircraft coming onto the scene and there are three main competitors. They are the:
Mitsubishi MRJ-70/90 Bombardier CS-100/300 Embraer E-Jets E2
Let’s examine each of these one by one and see which seems the best.
We’ll start with the Mitsubishi MRJ-70/90. The MRJ will be built by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and will be the first airliner built and produced in Japan since the 1960’s. The 70 version is planned to have a max seating capacity of 78 whereas the 90 version is planned to have a max seating capacity of 92. The 70 is planned to cost $34 million and the 90 is planned to cost $42 million. It is expected that the first MRJ will enter service in 2017 and Japan Airlines , Sky West and Trans States Holdings have some of the largest orders. Mitsubishi has received no orders for the MRJ-70 and has received 223 orders for the MRJ-90.
Next we’ll examine the Embraer. The E-jets as said above are the best Regional Jets in service today. The E-2 series are intended to take the E-jet to the next level in terms of technology and fuel economy. Prices range from 46 to 60 million depending on version and configuration and entry into service is expected in 2018. The E-2 currently has 325 orders.
Last but not least is the Bombardier CSeries. The CSeries is intended to compete with the smaller variants of the 737 and with large regional jets like the E-jets. The CSeries will cost between 60 and 75 million dollars depending on configuration and is expected to enter service in 2015. The CSeries has proven to be costly for Bombardier so it is imperative that they make sales. The aircraft family currently has 243 orders.
In conclusion the next generation of regional jets is expected to be beneficial to the environment and to passenger comfort. In my opinion the Embraer E-jet will be the most successful of these aircraft. It is the reliable work horse that the airlines love with more space and greater fuel efficiency.