Embraer E175 vs. Bombardier CRJ-900: How Do They Compare?

The E175 and CRJ-900 are arch-rivals – both aimed to dominate the sub-100 seats short- to medium-haul market. Each of these narrowbodies has its distinct advantages over the other, and we will explore these later in this article.

The history of the E175 is relatively straightforward, although there’s a twist in the tale for the recently launched E175-E2. Whereas, the history of the CRJ-900 is a little more complicated.

So, let’s explore, these two aircraft and highlight their similarities, as well as their differences.

Embraer E175 vs. Bombardier CRJ-900

History and Variants

First, let’s take a look at the two aircraft’s histories as well as the variants that they come in.

Embraer E175

The E175 is part of the Brazilian Embraer E-Jet family which is a series of four-abreast narrowbody short- to medium-range twinjet airliners (E170, E175, E190, and E195). The E-Jet family was first introduced in 1999 and entered production in 2002. The E-Jet family has been commercially very successful in serving lower-demand routes while being able to offer many of the same amenities, comfort levels, and features of larger jet aircraft.

The E-Jet family is used by both mainline and regional airlines around the world and is particularly popular with regional airlines in the United States, especially those that operate on behalf of the larger airlines.

The E170 was the first E-jet family variant to be produced, and following a positive response from customers, a stretched version – the E175 – was launched. The E175 is 1.78m longer than the E170. The E175 made its inaugural flight in June 2003 and subsequently obtained type certification from aviation authorities in Brazil, Europe, the USA, and elsewhere. The E175 aircraft first entered service with Air Canada in July 2005.

The E175 comes in three versions – Standard (STD), Long Range (LR), and Advanced Range (AR). The AR version was introduced in 2007 and its structural enforcement allows it to offer greater range and load capacity.

In November 2011, Embraer announced that it would develop improved versions of the E-Jet family, called E-Jet E2. These new variants were officially launched in 2013 and feature more fuel-efficient engines, new wings, improved avionics, and other improvements. The E195-E2 entered service in 2018 and production is in full swing.

However, Embraer recently paused flight testing and certification of the E175-E2 for around three years. The key issue seems to be the ongoing US mainline scope clause discussions with the pilot unions.

Typically, the pilots of regional airlines operating on behalf of US major carriers cannot fly aircraft that have more than 76 seats or weigh more than 86,000lb (39 tonnes). The E175-E2 has space for up to 90 passengers in a single-class layout or 80 in three classes. More critical is the E175-E2’s MTOW of 98,120lb (44.5 tonnes), which is around 10% higher than the US scope clauses permit.

The E175-E2 entry-into-service is not now expected to occur until around 2027/2028, assuming Embraer is able to resolve the current problems and decides to resume the E175-E2 program.

Embraer E175

Bombardier CRJ-900

The 86-seat Bombardier CRJ-900 is a stretched derivative of the CRJ-700 with two fuselage plugs, one forward and one aft of the center section, and was launched in 2000. The first delivery was to Mesa Airlines in 2003, with the aircraft painted in the America West livery.

In March 2005, Bombardier announced design enhancements which included improved wing tips and winglets, and optimization of the wing’s leading edges to improve payload, range, take-off, landing performance, and fuel consumption.

Then in May 2007, Bombardier announced the CRJ NextGen family aircraft with new cabin interiors, including larger passenger windows, additional baggage space, LED lighting, and improved fuel burn.

The original CRJ-900 variant is complemented by the CRJ-900 Extended Range (ER) and the CRJ-900 Long Range (LR). There are also European versions of the CRJ900 ER and LR models with lower certified maximum takeoff weights for the European market.

Large orders for the CRJ-900 NextGen have been placed by the likes of PSA Airlines (for American Airlines), Lufthansa Citylink, China Express Airlines, and SAS.

In June 2019 Mitsubishi announced that it was acquiring the Canadair Regional Jet Program from Bombardier. The deal, worth 550m USD, gave Mitsubishi the maintenance, support, refurbishment, marketing, and sales activities for the CRJ program, along with the type certificates.

Mitsubishi also acquired Bombardier’s former aircraft services and support sites in Montreal and Toronto, Canada, and the US sites in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Tucson, Arizona. Additionally, it acquired the former Bombardier parts distribution depots in Chicago, USA, and Frankfurt, Germany. The acquisition did not include the production of the CRJ aircraft backlog which was completed by Bombardier.

The last Bombardier CRJ-900 rolled off the assembly line in February 2021. During its 20 years of production, Bombardier produced 491 CRJ-900s.

Bombardier CRJ-900

Dimensions

Let’s take a look at some key physical characteristics and see how these two aircraft measure up against each other:

Aircraft ModelLength/ mWingspan/ mCabin Width/ mFuselage Width/ mTailfin Height/ mMTOW/ tonnes
E175 STD31.6826.00 – 28.65*2.743.019.8637.50
E175 LR38.79
E175 AR40.37
E175-E244.60
CRJ-90036.224.902.552.707.5036.50
CRJ-900LR38.33
CRJ-900ER37.42

*extended wingtips

The CRJ-900 is smaller than the E175 in all respects, apart from length. The additional CRJ-900 length is required to accommodate its greater seating capacity, and also to house the rear-mounted fuselage wings. In contrast, the E175’s twin engines are wing-mounted.

The wider E175 fuselage provides a more spacious cabin experience for passengers compared to the CRJ-900 – both aircraft’s economy class cabins are laid out 2-2, and premium cabins tend to be in a 2-1 seating layout.

Bombardier CRJ-900

Range

The E175 generally scores higher when it comes to range. The original CRJ-900’s and CRJ-900ER’s ranges are lower than the E175 STD, and the CRJ-900LR’s range is lower than the E175 LR’s range. 

Below is an overview of the ranges offered by the two types’ different variants:

Aircraft ModelRange
E175 STD1,700nm (3,151km)
E175 LR1,900nm (3,521km)
E175 AR2,200nm (4,074km)
E175-E22,000nm (3,704km)
CRJ-9001,350nm (2,500km)
CRJ-900ER1,593nm (2,950km)
CRJ-900LR1,828nm (3,385km)

Seat Capacity and Cabin Layout

Embraer indicates that the E175 has a typical 1-class seating capacity of 78, and a 2-class capacity of 76 seats (12 premium and 64 economy seats).

In the single economy class cabin layout with 78-seats, the seats are usually arranged as 19 double seats on the left-hand side of the aircraft and 20 double seats on the right-hand side (2-2). Embraer also offers a single premium class seating option throughout the entire cabin with double seats on the right and single seats on the left (2-1).

I looked at the actual seating layouts used by a number of E175 operators and found the following:

AirlineTotal SeatsFirst/Business Class CabinMain/ Economy Cabin
SeatsLayoutSeatsLayout
Air Canada (Jazz Aviation)76122-1642-2
American Airlines76122-120 + 4412-2
United Airlines70122-132 + 2622-2
Alaska Airlines74122-112 + 5232-2

1 Main Cabin Extra and Main Cabin
2 Economy Plus and Economy
3 Premium Class and Main Cabin

Royal Jordanian Embraer E175

Embraer’s current plans for the E175-E2 are for a slightly higher seating capacity of around 88-90 seats in an all-economy class configuration and up to 80 seats in a 3-class configuration. As described above, the E175-E2’s higher seating capacity, which exceeds the US mainline scope clause limit of 76 seats, is a major cause of the continued delay to the E175-E2 program.  

The maximum seating capacity of the CRJ-900 is 90, and Bombardier suggested that the 2-class seating capacity was 81. 

I looked at the actual seating layouts used by a number of CRJ-900 operators and found the following:

AirlineTotal SeatsFirst/Business Class CabinMain/ Economy Cabin
SeatsLayoutSeatsLayout
Lufthansa90222-2682-2
SAS880882-2
American Airlines7692-123 + 4412-2
Delta Airlines76122-120 + 4422-2
Endeavor76122-120 + 4432-2
Skywest76122-120 + 4442-2
PSA76122-1642-2

1 Main Cabin Extra and Main Cabin
2 Economy Plus and Economy
3 Premium Class and Main Cabin
4 Premium Economy and Economy

Customers and Orders

By the end of June 2022, the E175 had achieved a total of 848 firm orders and there have been 705 deliveries, with a backlog of 143 aircraft. The E175 is the most successful member of the E-Jet family (E170, E175, E190, and E195), with the E175 making up 42% of the total 2,000 E-Jet orders by the end of June 2022. 

The 4 biggest operators fly the E175 under contract to the major US airlines (American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta, Alaska Airlines, etc.) and the aircraft fly in the liveries of the contracting airlines. The E175’s current top 10 operators are shown in the graph below:

Embraer E175 Top Operators

Bombardier produced 491 CRJ-900s. It’s interesting to note that there are three airlines that are in both lists of the current top ten operators of the E175 and the CRJ-900 – Air Canada (Jazz Aviation), Mesa Airlines, and Skywest USA.

The CRJ-900’s current top 10 operators are shown in the graph below:

Bombardier CRJ-900 Top Operators

Embraer 175 vs. Bombardier CRJ-900: Summary

The CRJ-900 and the E175 were market competitors. Is one better than the other? That’s hard to decide because both have their own very strong points. The CRJ-900’s potential 90-seat capacity exceeds the E175’s maximum of 78 seats. However, to counter this, the Embraer 175 has a slightly more spacious fuselage and so offers a more comfortable journey for passengers.

The E175 generally also has better range capability, with only the CRJ-900LR achieving a range in excess of the original E175-STD model; and the range of the E175AR is around 700km longer than the CRJ-900 LR. However, both of these aircraft have proven very popular in the USA serving regional thin routes, connecting smaller airports to larger hub airports, and on many of these routes, the aircraft’s maximum range capability is not required.

Price-wise these two aircraft pretty well matched each other with list prices each around 46m USD. In terms of pure sales/orders, the E175 has been more successful than the CRJ-900.

1 thought on “Embraer E175 vs. Bombardier CRJ-900: How Do They Compare?”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Get Your FREE "Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank" Guide

No, I am not going to tell you how to fly in first class and sip Dom Perignon for free…

But, I am going to introduce you to a couple of ways you can experiment with to try a business class flight without having to spend thousands of dollars.

How Can I Help You?