You are correct, Spanair is not included in the Star Alliance "RJ" order. However, they will be influenced by SAS's stake in the airline, as indicated in the news article below:
Spanair studies mid-size and large RJs
Star alliance carrier Spanair is studying adding 60-70 seater regional jets and more 100-seaters to its regional subsidiary Aerolineas Baleares (AeBal) while steering clear of restarting long-haul services.
Airline chairman and CEO Gonzalo Pascual speaking at the airline’s Madrid office today said: "There are a lot of regional flights for planes of 60-70 seats. We are studying the regional area and if it is the time to go into it and if we would want to. It shouldn’t be for 2004 but within the next year we could take a resolution for 2005 or 2006."
He says that there are no discussions underway with manufacturers and the carrier has not decided on aircraft types or the number of aircraft, but strongly prefers jets to turboprops.
"In principle, we are focusing on jets and not turboprops. We have to compete with certain established services where the jet is operating today," notes Pascual.
If the carrier decides to go ahead with regional jets, Pascual stresses that Spanair would cautiously enter the market with a small number of leased aircraft.
AeBal currently operates a fleet of four Boeing 717-200s of which three are owned and one is on operating lease. These aircraft have helped Spanair to launch new services and enable it to fly on thinner routes.
In addition to regional jets, Spanair is closely following the Star Alliance study into a bulk regional jet order. Any Star decision will influence what type of 100-seater the Spanish carrier would operate in future says Pascual.
For 100-seater growth, Pascual says: "It will depend on the decision of SAS and the Star alliance if we will grow with the 717s."
He notes that if Star decides to go with another aircraft type it might replace its 717s with that type, but he declines to comment on whether Spanair might take some of the Star-ordered machines.
For 2004 the carrier does not plan any growth beyond the delivery of its remaining Airbus A320 order with three aircraft due in 2004 and two in 2005.
These aircraft have been used to replace some of the older Boeing MD
-80s. Spanair plans to keep its fleet number at 50-55 aircraft in 2004. If the carrier does take on regional jets or more 100-seater aircraft it will be growth on top of the medium-haul fleet which will stay at at this capacity level.
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