One of the most mundane forms of air transportation is finding new life at the top of the food chain. Project Phoenix is converting Bombardier CRJ 200 regional jets to ultra-luxurious business jets in the same league as the Bombardier Global Express at less than half the price. But while the $18.5 million price tag is attractive, it's the availability that's caused business to boom for Phoenix. "We aim to deliver five in this coming year," European sales agent Hugh Wilson told AVweb in a podcast interview.
He said the project aircraft are typically regional airliners that have about 20,000 hours on them and the company is "very selective" about their purchases. Wilson said the aircraft have a design life of 80,000 hours and the RJs are designed for the rough and tumble of an airline existence. The engines are redone and all mechanical work is brought to the "re-life" stage on the aircraft. It's unlikely they'll come close to achieving their design life in private service. Wilson said that while many customers will be happy with the converted RJs, others will buy them to use while they wait for their factory-fresh aircraft.