AirTran Airways was the customer that helped the Boeing 717-200 launch and eventually become reality. The AirTran Airways Boeing 717-200 would become an important part of the 717's history. ValuJet Airlines was the company that placed the first order in 1995 for the new McDonnell Douglas MD-95, that would later become the Boeing 717-200 jet. They ordered a total of 100 MD-95s / 717-200s with 50 firm orders and 50 options. ValuJet then merged with Airways Corporation, AirTran Airways' parent company, before the MD-95 was built. AirTran was the surviving brand in the merger and they kept the original order for the Boeing 717. Boeing delivered the first Boeing 717 to AirTran on September 23rd, 1999. In October 1999 the Boeing 717-200 entered service with AirTran. The airline would end up having around 88 Boeing 717-200 jets over its history. The AirTran Boeing 717-200 flew primarily from AirTran's hub at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ICAO: KATL, FAA:ATL).
Above Airtran Boeing 717-200 photo by Andre Wadman on Wikimedia Commons. Modified by FlyRadius. Photo (only) released under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.
The End of AirTran Airways and The AirTran Boeing 717-200
On September 10th, 2010 AirTran Holdings, Inc, AirTran Airways's parent, agreed to merge with Southwest Airlines Co in a cash and stock transaction. This deal would eventually close the AirTran name and end the operation of the AirTran Boeing 717-200. AirTran's Chairman, President and CEO gave a clue to the future of the Boeing 717-200 at the newly combined company in the news release announcing the deal: "The combined airline will benefit from greater economies of scale and the integration of operations will be aided by significant fleet commonality." The only plane that the two airlines both had was the Boeing 737-700 jet. This left the Boeing 717 out of the picture at Southwest. Southwest is known for staying with one type of airplane, the Boeing 737, to keep "complexity" down.
On May 22, 2012 Southwest reached an agreement with Delta Air Lines and Boeing Capital Corporation to sublease / lease all of the company's Boeing 717-200 jets to Delta. As apart of the agreement, all AirTran / Southwest Boeing 717-200 jets will have maintenance performed and will be painted into Delta Air Lines' livery at Southwest's cost. Southwest Airlines has estimated that it will cost them $154 million dollars (USD) for the upgrades. Southwest began delivering Boeing 717 jets to Delta in 2013 and as of September 30th, 2014, Southwest has delivered 45 717-200s to Delta. Southwest has estimated that it will deliver all of their Boeing 717-200 jets to Delta by mid to late 2015. You can read more about the Delta Air Lines Boeing 717-200 here. Also the company has announced that all AirTran / Southwest Boeing 717 operations would end on December 28th, 2014, bringing the AirTran Boeing 717-200 service to an end. Southwest will then park the rest of the B717s until they are ready for delivery to Delta. This marks the end of AirTran Airways and their operation of the Boeing 717 jet.
AirTran Airways Boeing 717-200 Seat Map, Seating Chart and Cabin Configuration
AirTran operated the Boeing 717 with 117 seats in a two class configuration. This configuration became the "standard" 717-200 configuration that Boeing used in marketing. There were 12 seats in a business class section located at the front of the aircraft, that were configured 2 by 2. These seats had a seat pitch of 36 to 37 inches and were located in rows 1 to 3. Following the business class section was a 105 seat economy class section with a seat pitch of 30 inches. These seats were configured 2 by 3 and were located in rows 3 to 31. More on the seating charts of the Boeing 717-200 are located here.
AirTran Boeing 717-200 Routes and Destinations
AirTran primarily operated the 717 from it's hub in Atlanta to various destinations.
AirTran Airways Boeing 717-2BD
Boeing issues "customer codes" to the end of the aircraft's model name to identify the original customer of the aircraft. AirTran's Airways Boeing customer code was BD, so you will see the aircraft being called the Boeing 717-2BD.
Other Names for the AirTran Airways Boeing 717-200
The Boeing 717-200 jet aircraft has a few different names that it is called by. The following is a list of names that are used:
- Boeing B-717-200 AirTran Airways: The FAA and others sometimes call the jet the B-717, B-717-200 or the B717 (with no dash).
- Boeing B712 AirTran Airways B712 is the ICAO code for the airplane that is used by air traffic controllers, airlines and others. More information on this will be posted later.
- Boeing 717 AirTran Airways (with out the -200): Many call the 717-200 just the 717, which is the main aircraft program the plane is in (the only plane in the 717 program). 717 is also the IATA code for the jet aircraft.