Air Transport World

An 'expression of desire'

With record attendance, RAA's convention was chock-full of news for airlines and manufacturers alike

MINNEAPOLIS--Fairchild Dornier President Jim Robinson used the RAA Convention to launch a family of 44-90-seat regional jets without firm orders.

Launch customers Crossair and Lufthansa Cityline indicated an "expression of desire" for around 120 aircraft and options each for the 528JET, 728JET and 928JET aircraft family. More than half of the orders of the two airlines will be for the 70-seat 728JET. While not a ringing endorsement, the anticipated orders from these airlines and two others apparently were enough to launch the program, expected to cost around $1.2 billion.

One day after the meeting, Dortmund-based Eurowings and Air France partner Proteus Airlines signed letters of intent for 30 and 15 728JETs, respectively, although the announcement said the two carriers placed orders. No down payments accompanied the letters of intent.

"I expect we will have a contract from all of these airlines around July," said a confident Robinson after the convention.

The launch announcement here and at ILA Berlin raised a number of questions, not the least of which was how the San Antonio-based company intends to pay for it. …

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