Bombardier Breaks Out Of RJ Mold

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Bombardier has announced plans to break out of the regional jet mold with a new airliner that can carry up to 135 passengers. In doing so, the Montreal-based manufacturer will go head-to-head with Boeing and Airbus for one of the most lucrative, if not glamorous, segments of the airliner market. Bombardier spokesman Gary Scott told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in an interview at Farnborough the new jet will be about 15 percent more efficient than the ubiquitous 737s and A320s that now serve most of the 100- to 150-seat corner of the market. But while Boeing faces a new challenger for its bread-and-butter 737, it's also reporting encouraging news about its future marquee jet, the 7E7. Boeing spokesman Toby Bright told the Post-Intelligencer that he's getting a lot more interest from U.S. airlines in the Dreamliner than he expected. With the U.S. industry reeling from three very bad years, Bright said it's tough for the U.S. airlines to talk about buying new aircraft when they're laying off employees and teetering on bankruptcy but they've quietly been making overtures about the composite, mid-sized 7E7, touted as being much more efficient than current models. Bright said Boeing now has about 200 prospective sales for the Dreamliner.