In the history of the small plane war, there were no two rivals as fierce as Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier. They both built aircraft, the ERJ145 and the CRJ200 that matched each other – but which is better? Let’s discuss
How will we compare the aircraft?
To best compare the two aircraft we will pretend that we are a regional airline looking to operate short-haul services to major hubs (for example, serving in South-East USA), transporting passengers from small airports to major cities, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Thus we will be focusing on passenger capacity and range of the aircraft, as well as fuel efficiency (as short-haul flights are not fuel-efficient at all). While comfort is an essential factor (and determines why a passenger would choose us), to our bottom line, it is not that important. After all, these passengers will not be in the air very long, and it shouldn’t be a point of focus.
Starting with how many passengers each aircraft can fit onboard.
The CRJ200 can seat 50 passengers in a 2-2 configuration. There is an extra row at the end that shares with the single bathroom onboard.
The ERJ45, on the other hand, can seat 50 passengers in a 2-1 configuration. It has more rows than the CRJ200, but as its length is longer, it can fit the same amount of passengers.
Both aircraft are for short-haul regional travel and thus may not have awe-inspiring range numbers. But when the numbers are so low, the further the aircraft can fly can make or break routes.
The CRJ200 can fly 1,700 nautical miles (3,148 km), while the ERJ145 has a shorter range of 1,550 nautical miles (2,873 km).
There are many different versions of the ERJ145, from the LR to the XR with different ranges. The special ERJ145XR can fly a superior 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km). This extra 300 nautical miles is large enough to be useful and allow the ERJ145 to operate longer flights.
When it comes to both aircraft, is one cheaper to operate than the other? We need to put the fuel capacity back to back and decide if its worth one aircraft over another.
- The CRJ200 has a maximum fuel capacity of 6,489 kg (14,305 lb)
- The ERJ145 has a maximum fuel capacity of 5,973 kg (13,168 lb),
The ERJ145 goes further than the CRJ200 on less fuel. An easy winner.
However, just because one aircraft is looking superior to another isn’t a clear winner if its much more expensive (after all, a Ferrari might be better than a Ford, but a Ford is significantly cheaper to buy).
- The CRJ200 has a list price of US$18.3M (1994)
- The ERJ145 has a list price of US$15 million (1996)
The CRJ200 is more expensive than the ERJ145.
The ERJ145 family has received more care and attention, updating the design over the years and, in the end, offering a superior product.