This definately is an order that is multi-dimensional. Do we have a more links to an actual press release?
Each aircraft has its strong points and weaknesses. I think right now Boeing has the most to gain from winning the order. The 717 desperately needs more orders to truly solidify it. Midwest and AirTran can't keep the line going forever. If Boeing is truly offering the 717-300 then their will finally be the "family" concept that the airlines have longed for. If I were part of Boeing's sales team I would do what it takes to make sure this order goes to Long Beach.
What we need to do is compare all of the aircraft and see what their pros and cons are. IMHO the 717 is best suited for these airlines. The A318 is too heavy for the short haul routes and not designed for the rigourous short hops. The CRJ is definately favored in Canada but there really isn't a step up in capacity available like their is with the 717. The ERJ 170/190 in my opinion could win the order because it is techically the best of both worlds. The only problem is that it doesn't have any "hometown" airlines routing for it!
717= Lufthansa (BMW Engines), SAS (Current MD
CRJ= Air Canada (Canadian Built)
A318= Lufthansa (European Built)
This is Boeing's chance to make the 717 line a "reality" in terms of orders and long term stability. Austrian, SAS and Air Canada have all operated the DC-9 series family and loved them. Hopefully Boeing will make a good pitch.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower