News early this morning from Bombardier announced that Delta Air Lines signed a firm purchase agreement for 20 CRJ900s and is the launch operator of the new ATMOSPHÈRE cabin for CRJ. The new CRJ900 aircraft with ATMOSPHÈRE cabin will fly under the Delta Connection brand in a comfortable two-class regional jet configuration with 70 seats. Delta Air Lines will take delivery of the world’s first ATMOSPHÈRE cabin CRJ900 aircraft in late 2018.
This order is another regional fleet update, and similar to the one announced by American several weeks ago. It with interest to note that it is not the regional airlines doing the buying, it’s the networks airlines buying regional jets. For many years there was the view that moving up from trading with regionals to majors (especially in the US) was too steep a climb for the likes of Embraer and Bombardier. We see this no longer the case.
Operating as Delta Connection means these aircraft could end up among several operators. The table lists the current Delta Connection airlines and their fleets. We would not be surprised to see these CRJ900s end up at SkyWest, which has 70-seat E175s.
There are 152 CRJ900s in service among these airlines, and all seat 76. This is the scope clause maximum seating for regional jets in the US. The new CRJ900s will seat 70, which portends a significant comfort improvement. Note that the CRJ700s listed seat 69, so this provides an idea of how roomy the new aircraft might be. Moreover, the new cabin should allow nearly everyone to take their carry on into the cabin and avoid the dreaded “bag drop”.