A series of new order announcements involving no fewer than three major civil airframe makers signaled the end of a late-summer sales lull on Wednesday, as airlines went on a new buying spree reminiscent of July’s Farnborough airshow. The value of the day’s orders totaled some $7.45 billion at list prices and involved 86 airplanes ranging in size from the Embraer E175 regional jet to the Boeing 787-9 widebody.
Lufthansa pilots continued negotiations with airline management at press time over what they claim amount to scope-clause violations by the German flag carrier. The pilots, organized in a trade union called Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), started a four-day strike on February 22 for higher pay, better work time arrangements and–above all–job security.
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.
ERA named German operator Eurowings regional airline of the year at last month’s general assembly, 12 months after the German regional airline placed second in the competition. Eurowings attributes its success to its fleet mix and route network; an appropriate alliance policy with German flag carrier Lufthansa, which has an option to increase its 25-percent stake in the regional to 49 percent; and an attractive “customer product.”
Regional airlines in Europe last month lodged a formal protest alleging that civil servants had misrepresented legislation about passenger compensation for canceled or delayed flights. The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has filed a complaint with the European Ombudsman in an attempt to prevent administrators from encouraging ungrounded expectations through misinformation released to the public and media.
The company that launched the Saab 340 into prominence in Europe will soon bow out of the turboprop flying business altogether, when Swiss International Airlines bids adieu to the last of its 50-seat Saab 2000s this month and embarks on a restructuring of its regional jet fleet that will also banish all nine of the carrier’s Embraer 145s by March.
Lufthansa CityLine has begun operating the first of 12 new 84-seat Bombardier CRJ900 regional jets that by year-end will replace its ten 50-seat CRJ200s. With no prospect of oil prices falling, the German carrier is looking for the sort of fuel economics normally available only from long-haul widebody operations.