Bombardier has delivered the first CRJ200 Special Freighter (CRJ200SF) to Waterford, Michigan-based Gulf & Caribbean Cargo.

The CRJ200SF, as well as the CRJ100SF, are major conversions from passenger versions of the Canadian-built regional jet. Miami, Florida-based Aeronautical Engineers (AEI), a Bombardier-licensed third party supplemental type certificate (STC) provider carries out the modifications, the most obvious of which is the installation of a 94 in. x 77 in. (238.7 cm x 195.6 cm) cargo door.

In their new guise, the special freighters can haul 14,840 lbs. (6,731 kg) of payload on the main deck, with eight 61.5" X 88" pallet positions for containerization.

“CRJ100 and 200 jets are the assets upon which regional airlines have built their existence,” Bombardier Commercial Aircraft VP-asset management David Speirs said. “However, they are gradually being replaced in favor of larger aircraft and are finding homes in secondary markets with modifications such as AEI’s freighter conversions. We are continuing to see growing interest in these pre-owned aircraft from both traditional and emerging sectors of the industry,” he said.

“The CRJ100 and 200 operator base has grown by about 120% over the past eight or nine years, a strong indication of the aircraft's continuing strength, versatility and appeal,” Speirs added.

AEI VP-sales and marketing Robert Convey said, “To date, we have received commitments for 45 aircraft conversions from a variety of operators and we fully expect to convert over 100 aircraft over the life of the program. I believe that most CRJ100SF, CRJ200SF aircraft will be operated on longer-range regional services with thin demand that require the speed of a jet, but can’t support larger narrowbody freighters.”

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com