German flag-carrier Lufthansa has yet to clarify operational details for its new Bombardier CRJ900 fleet because of continuing talks with pilots over its regional strategy.

The airline’s supervisory board has approved a plan to order 12 CRJ900s, but delivery dates have not been disclosed.

Although Lufthansa CityLine is the most likely operator of the aircraft, Lufthansa has not stated which of its regional divisions will operate the jets, nor has it disclosed the routes they will fly.

Under a dated agreement, Lufthansa cannot use regional pilots to operate aircraft with more than 70 seats, and must instead use crews from its mainline operation.

But as the carrier has developed its Lufthansa Regional division – a group of five European carriers – the crewing situation has become more complex. For example, although CityLine is part of Lufthansa Regional, it has its own pilots and operates a handful of BAE Systems Avro RJ85s, which have more than 70 seats. Italian partner Air Dolomiti also has similarly sized British Aerospace 146s.

“We need larger aircraft to become more profitable and more flexible,” says Lufthansa. “There is a discussion about the crewing of the CRJ900s and this is the reason we didn’t say where the aircraft will be operated. We haven’t decided yet whether they will be operated by CityLine – they could be operated by our other partners as well,” it adds.

The CRJ900s are aimed at replacing some of the 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200s in the Lufthansa Regional fleet. Lufthansa has yet to finalise the CRJ900 order and says it hopes to reach an agreement with its pilots over regional operations soon. Pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit declines to comment.


Source: Flight International