I don't think that AA
has serious interest in the 717, unless Boeing makes an incredible offer.
On the one hand, pilots could probably be checked out on both the MD
-80 and the 717. That would keep the training and other costs down.
On the other hand, the MD
-80 fleet ranges from 10 to 20 years old. Although the MD
-80s have flown a lot of long-haul flights (which reduces the cycles), AA
will probably start looking to replace the fleet in the next 4 to 8 years.
did start retiring MD
-80s in 2010, the fleet would be fully retired by 2020. The advantages of having the 717 dwindle as the MD
-80 fleet shrinks.
A more likely scenerio would be for AA
to convince Boeing to rework the 737-600 to make it work on short routes.
A friend of mine at AA
has said that management has looked at the bigger Embrears. There are no announcements in the near future, but management is very happy with the 135, 140, and 145 and is willing to listen to the Embrear sales pitch.