The sale of Bombardier’s CRJ program and its subsequent termination is not expected to have any material effect on Aeronautical Engineers, Inc.’s (AEI) own CRJ passenger-to-freighter conversion program, the conversion house told Cargo Facts.
Bombardier announced in June that it was selling off the CRJ program to Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, with the remaining backlog continuing to be built at Mirabel (YMX) until production ends in the second half of next year.
AEI’s CRJ SF conversion was launched in 2013 in cooperation with Bombardier and was granted an STC from the FAA in October 2016. AEI subsequently received EASA approval in May 2018 and obtained Transport Canada approval last December. The freighter is based on the older CRJ100 and CRJ200 models, both of which ended production in 2006.
The conformity aircraft (7029, ex-SkyWest) was redelivered to launch customer Michigan-based IFL Group. To date, AEI has redelivered eleven conversions: one CRJ100 SF and three CRJ200 SFs to IFL Group, four CRJ200 SFs to Mexican cargo carrier Aeronaves TSM, one CRJ200 SF to Miami-based lessor Regional One, and two CRJ200 SFs to Pinnacle Partners. Another CRJ200 (7787, ex-South African Express) has almost completed the conversion process and is expected to be redelivered to Aeronaves TSM in a few weeks’ time.
With over forty-five firm orders and commitments, the CRJ200 SF program will keep AEI busy in the months to come, but the company told Cargo Facts that it was looking at the newer CRJ900 as a potential add-on to the conversion program, although a decision to launch has yet to be made.