United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) has been named the launch customer for Bombardier Aerospace's new fifty-seater CRJ550 twinjet. The Canadian manufacturer said in a statement that the CRJ550 is a new CRJ Series aircraft model, with a new type certificate based on the CRJ700.

“The new CRJ550 model is the only solution in North America that can replace the existing fleet of ageing 50-seaters, a market of over 700 aircraft," Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, added.

For its part, United has outsourced the operation of its CRJ550s to GoJet Airlines (G7, St. Louis Lambert Int'l) which already operates twenty-five CRJ700s under the United Express brand.

The Missouri-based capacity provider said in its own statement that it had executed a letter of agreement with United to operate the CRJ550s on a ten-year contract. Under the terms of the deal, the first of twenty-five CRJ550s due to deliver in 2019 will arrive later this summer season followed by another 25 due by summer 2020.

The new aircraft will feature 10 First Class, 20 Economy Plus, and 20 Economy seats as well as a feeding station in the First Class cabin.