Bombardier CRJ Series ATMOSPHÈRE cabin

Image: Stephanie Taylor

APEX Insight: Bombardier Commercial Aircraft has unveiled the CRJ Series Atmosphère cabin, which has been designed to deliver a higher level of passenger comfort, convenience and accessibility, while ensuring airlines have maximum branding opportunities.

Debuted at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow, the new CRJ Series Atmosphère cabin from Bombardier Commercial Aircraft (BCA) is the result of two years’ research into what both airlines and passengers want from a modern aircraft interior.

Eighteen months ago, BCA created a special cabin design team, who were heavily influenced by what the company’s VP and head of Marketing Patrick Baudis refers to as “pure design.” He explained, “When you look at the objects we buy now, design is very important because it makes us feel better.”

The fourth generation of the CRJ cabin will be launched by Delta Air Lines, which signed a firm purchase order for 20 CRJ900s in June 2018. It includes features such as full mood lighting – Baudis claims this is a first for a regional aircraft – to ensure a seamless transition between an airline’s mainline and regional aircraft fleet in terms of branding.

At today’s press event, Norman Jordan, CEO of supplier Zodiac Aerospace, listed other features of the cabin, including a “larger lavatory, bigger overhead bins in business class for ‘wheels-in-first’ application and bigger seats in business class.”

While there is the option to incorporate a PRM-compatible lavatory into the cabin, the Delta CRJ900 on the static display at Farnborough featured the baseline lavatory design. Nonetheless, Dan Pietrzak, Delta’s managing director commented, “Quite frankly, the lavatory is even larger than some we have on the mainline aircraft today.”

During a tour of the aircraft, Jean-François Guay, director of the CRJ Program, explained that due to scope clauses in the US the type was currently configured with 70 seats for Delta, but that the cabin could easily be updated to accommodate 76 seats if the airline required it.

There are presently 12 business-class seats, each with a 37-inch pitch, split across four rows in a 2-1 configuration and 58 seats in economy class in a 2-2 configuration. While most of the economy seats feature a 34-inch pitch, Guay pointed out that in the exit row the seat pitch increased to 42 inches.

Guay also clarified that, while only the overhead bins in business class can accommodate the ‘wheels-first’ positioning of carry-on luggage, the mouth size of the overhead bins in economy have been increased to 13 inches to make maneuvering suitcases easier. He said the main benefit of these improvements is the potential to speed up turnaround times.

Pietrzak stated that, although “the IATA standard is a 9.5-inch or 10-inch bag,” the CRJ Series Atmosphère business-class cabin can fit a 10.5-inch bag wheels-first and horizontally in economy class.

Fred Cromer, BCA’s president, commented, “I actually got to participate in a roadshow where we took a mock-up of this interior out to our customers and it was viewed and quoted by many of the industry leaders as ‘game-changing’ for a regional aircraft.”