Fairchild Dornier AeroIndustries, formerly known as D'Long Aerospace, says the Star Alliance is considering the 728 and 928 regional jets in its evaluation of new 70- to 100-seat aircraft. However, the company is yet to hold detailed discussions with its key suppliers on resurrecting the programme.

Fairchild Dornier says it is offering Star 728s with deliveries from 2006 and 928s from 2008.

"I don't think they'd talk to us if we didn't fit their schedule," says CEO Werner von Anhalt. "If they know there is a product out there that fits their need and that's the 728 and 928 family, we think we have a good chance to enter [the competition]."

The new Fairchild Dornier, which purchased assets to the 728 programme earlier this year, plans to make a decision on whether to relaunch the 728 by year-end. A simultaneous relaunch of both the 728 and 928 is being considered because some potential customers, including the Star carriers, will only acquire the 728 if they know there will be a family of aircraft with commonality.

Von Anhalt is discussing orders from carriers outside Star but launch orders are not necessary for either of the programmes to be relaunched.

"Star Alliance would be a nice kickstart to the programme, but we have other opportunities for launch customers," he says.

Lufthansa, which had 728s on order when Fairchild Dornier became insolvent, appears to be the most interested of the Star carriers in potentially supporting a relaunch.

Source: Flight International