German low-fares carrier Germanwings is still considering bringing Boeing 717 regional jets into its fleet, despite a decision by the US manufacturer to discontinue type production, writes Justin Wastnage.

The Cologne/Bonn airport-based carrier, a subsidiary of Lufthansa regional affiliate Eurowings, says the 717 is still being "seriously considered" for short-haul routes alongside its Airbus A320 family fleet.

The airline has received "positive customer feedback" from passengers using a 717 wet-leased from Spanish charter operator AeBal for its winter schedule.

Boeing decided to close the 717 production line in January, with the last of 32 backlog orders due to be delivered in early 2006. Germanwings says the aircraft is still under consideration, with the used market providing the source. The airline says it is planning new routes in eastern Europe that it would like to serve with the 100-seater twinjet. A decision will be taken by the board this month.

The carrier says: "Passengers like them, our pilots like them and our flight department likes them too, because they don't use too much fuel."

Germanwings confirmed Berlin Schönefeld airport as its third base last month, and took delivery of three more Airbus A320-200s from International Lease Finance.

Germanwings is building an alliance of low-fares airlines, with deals with BMIBaby and Centralwings set to follow.

Source: Flight International