Lufthansa evaluating 728JET alternatives

 - May 8, 2008, 4:54 AM

Lufthansa CityLine is looking at the Bombardier and Embraer regional jet families as alternatives to the firm order for sixty 728JETs that it had placed with airframer Fairchild Dornier. During the ERA assembly, the German regional’s managing director, Karl-Heinz Kopfle, said Bombardier’s CRJ700 and -900s are under consideration, as is the Embraer 170. He added that while a decision could be made by year-end, the airline will take more time if necessary. Boeing is also understood to be proposing its 100-seat 717-200 twinjet as an alternative.

Kopfle also said CityLine will not necessarily restrict its choice to 70-seat equipment. The airline’s contract with Fairchild Dornier, which also included options for 60 more 728JETs, lapsed when the German-U.S. airframer was forced to go into bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

Lufthansa CityLine is preparing to face a fresh onslaught of competition from new no-frills airlines. Kopfle said he is now plotting how best to “act or react” in response to rapidly shifting market conditions on German domestic routes. More broadly, he may seek to rebrand the group’s regional-jet partner operations throughout Europe. CityLine’s partners include Air Dolomiti of Italy; Eurowings and Contact Air in Germany; and Cimber Air in Denmark.