Canada’s Chorus Aviation confirmed Feb. 6 that it has ordered nine Bombardier CRJ900s that will help support its recently announced extension as an Air Canada regional-feeder partner.

The aircraft, which will be operated by Chorus subsidiary Jazz Aviation, will include the new Atmosphere cabin and be configured in a 76-seat layout, including 12 business-class seats.

Chorus’s fleet plan has the aircraft arriving in 2020. 

Chorus and Air Canada recently announced a revamped capacity-purchase agreement (CPA) that includes increasing the number of CRJ900s flying for the mainline carrier from 21 to 35.

According to Bombardier, the order has a list price value of $437 million.

Chorus is using some proceeds from a C$97 million ($74 million) equity investment by Air Canada to purchase the new aircraft. Air Canada will lease them from Chorus, increasing the total number of leased aircraft in the CPA to 67.

“The addition of these new CRJ900 aircraft is a significant step in modernizing the Jazz fleet with larger aircraft while supporting the continued growth of our leasing revenue,” Chorus president and CEO Joseph Randell said. “The economics of this aircraft will enhance our competitive position and our ability to more effectively respond to the needs of our customer and changing market demand.”

Chorus is revamping its business model to rely less on its Air Canada CPA, largely by increasing its leasing activity. In addition to leased aircraft in the CPA, it has about 30 aircraft placed with other operators. The new CPA runs through 2035, extending the previous one by 10 years. Among the tradeoffs for Chorus: reduced revenues from fixed-fee flying. Chorus plans to use the time to ramp up its leasing-revenue stream.

The deal boosts Bombardier’s CRJ backlog to 59, Aviation Week’s Fleet Discovery shows. The orderbook includes 53 CRJ900s, five CRJ1000s and one CRJ700.

Sean Broderick, sean.broderick@aviationweek.com