Regional Jets

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What is a regional jet?

A regional jet is a small aircraft that is used by airlines operating regional flights. Regional jets usually have less than 150 seats and are typically produced by aircraft manufacturers that specialise in making smaller aircraft. For example, neither of the two biggest aircraft manufacturers — Airbus and Boeing — produce regional jets. Instead, regional jets are produced by other manufacturers, such as Embraer, Bombardier and Fokker.

Because of their purpose to regional flights, which are in less-demand than other flights, regional jets are only every used for short-haul flights, often within a country or a certain area of a continent. 

In the US and Canada regional jets are limited in size and number by a scope clause. A scope clause is an agreement between a major airline and the union of pilots that limits the number and size of regional aircraft. By limiting the number of regional jets that a major airline can have in its fleet at one time, a scope clause discourages airlines to hire regional pilots instead of major airline pilot, who — in theory — are willing to take less pay than a major airline pilot. As a result, airlines are forced to use major planes on routes that they might ordinarily operate with regional jets to cut costs in pilot pay. 


Regional Jet Cabin Classes

Regional jets are usually made up of just Economy Class. However, they can sometimes include an additional cabin class, which is often a Business Class cabin. The Business Class cabin isn't the same as what you'd expect from major aircraft, it's usually either the same layout as the Economy Class cabin but with a vacant seat next to each passenger or a slightly larger seat in a 1 x 1 formation. The cabin is often separated from the rest of the aircraft by a curtain.


Regional Jet Seat Formation

The seat formation for a regional jet can be any combination that is smaller than or equal to 3 x 2. For example, it can be 1 x 1, 1 x 2, 2 x 2 or 3 x 2.

There are two types of wide body aircraft — standard wide body aircraft and bigger wide body aircraft. The bigger type is referred to as a 'jumbo jet' and is often a double-decker with two floors of seating. 

Wide body aircraft are used both in commercial passengers flights and cargo services by hundreds of airlines worldwide. 

Who makes regional jets?

There are a number of different aircraft manufacturers that produce regional jets, these include Bombardier, Fokker, Antonov, Comac, Embraer and more.

 

Region jet comparison chart

The table below details all regional jets that have been produced, how many passengers they can carry and whether they're still in production.

Currently produced

MODEL MANUFACTURER SEATS SEATS
PER ROW
ENTERED
SERVICE
ENDED
PRODUCTION
NO. PRODUCED
SE 210 Caravelle Sud Aviation 80–140 5 1959 1972 282
Yak-40 Yakovlev 32 4 1968 1981 1011
F28 Fellowship Fokker 55–70 5 1969 1987 241
VFW 614 Fokker VFW 40–44 4 1975 1977 19
Bae 146 British Aerospace 70–112 5 1983 2001 387
Fokker 100 Fokker 97–122 5 1988 1997 283
CRJ100/200 Bombardier 50 4 1992 2006 1021
Fokker 70 Fokker 72–85 5 1994 1997 48
ERJ Embraer 37–50 3 1997 still in production 1213
Fairchild-Dornier 238JET Fairchild-Dornier 30–33 3 1999 2004 110
CRJ700/900/1000 Bombardier 66–104 4 2001 still in production 822
E-Jet family Embraer 66–124 4 2004 still in production 1414
An-148 Antonov 68–99 5 2009 still in production 42
SSJ100 Sukhoi 87–108 5 2011 still in production 159
ARJ21 Comac 78–105 5 2016 still in production 9
E-Jet E2 family Embraer 80–146 4 2018 still in production 8
MRJ Mistsibushi 69–92 4 2020 still in production 4

Regional Jet
FAQs

What is the smallest regional jet?

The smallest major regional jet to be produced is the Yakolev Yak-40. This aircraft had just 32 seats that were set out in a formation of 2 x 2. The smallest major regional jet still in production is the Embraer ERJ 170, this aircraft has between 37–50 seats.

What was the first regional jet?

The first regional jet to be produced was the Sud-Aviation Caravelle, which entered service in 1959. The aircraft had between 80–140 seats and stopped production in 1972. In total, there were over 280 Sud-Aviation Caravelle models produced. 

What is the most popular regional jet?

The most popular regional jets in history have been the Bombardier CRJ and the Embraer E-Jet families. Over 1,000 of these each of these aircraft types have been produced.