Bombardier is confident that interiors supply-chain challenges that plagued its C Series program will not be an issue on its new CRJ Atmosphere cabin, even though the supplier--Zodiac Aerospace--is the same.
"We don't anticipate any particular issue on the platform, and the ramp-up is going extremely well," Bombarder Commercial Aircraft (BCA) Vice President and Head of Marketing Patrick Baudis said during a recent briefing here ahead of the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA).
Bombardier and Zodiac executives will unveil Atmosphere to the public at FIA, showing it off on a Delta Air Lines CRJ900. Delta will be the first carrier to receive an Atmosphere-equipped CRJ, later this year. American Airlines is the only other Atmosphere customer, though Bombardier says the cabin is now standard, meaning all future CRJs ordered will have it.
The new cabin design is based on feedback from operators and eliminates "pain points" identified by both the marketplace and Bombardier, Baudis said. Larger overhead bins will accommodate standard roller bags, cutting down on time-consuming gate-checks. Bombardier said it used its own designers but tapped Zodiac's expertise.
Zodiac is also the primary interiors supplier for the C Series--now Airbus A220--program. Quality issues with some Zodiac components have led to production-line bottlenecks, forcing Bombardier to outsource some of the interiors-installation work to Montreal-based Avianor to help keep aircraft moving. The fix--which Bombardier insisted would be temporary--remained in place when Airbus took over the program this month.
BCA, which officially handed control of its former C Series program to an Airbus-led partnership on July 1, is now laser-focused on regional aircraft. It hopes Atmosphere will help close a perceived cabin-experience gap between its venerable CRJ and Embraer's successful regional jets. The cabin configuration could be made available as a retrofit option, and Bombardier is open to developing a version for its Q400 turboprop as well.
"We'll see if that makes sense from a customers' point of view," Bombardier Commercial Aircraft President Fred Cromer said.