Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will add 88 former AirTran Airways Boeing 717-200 aircraft to its fleet starting in 2013.
Delta has finalized an agreement with Southwest Airlines and Boeing for the Boeing 717s, which are currently in service at Southwest subsidiary AirTran Airways. The aircraft will begin delivery next year, with 16 scheduled to enter Delta’s fleet in 2013. An additional 36 will be delivered in 2014, and the remaining 36 in 2015.
The Boeing 717s will primarily replace small 50-seat regional jets on a capacity-neutral basis. The 110-seat aircraft will feature new, fully upgraded interiors, with 12 First Class seats, 15 Economy Comfort seats and in-flight WiFi throughout the aircraft. Seats in Economy will be arranged in a 2-3 configuration with just one middle seat per row.
The 717 initiative is the latest step in Delta’s domestic fleet optimization plan launched in 2010, focused on improving the profitability of the company and providing customers an industry-leading customer experience. Delta will begin taking delivery next year of new fuel-efficient state-of-the-art Boeing 737-900 ER jets, which will primarily replace older Boeing 757-200 and 767-300 and Airbus A320 aircraft. Delta will add 100 new 737-900 ERs between 2013 and 2018. In addition, Delta has upgraded its fleet with the addition of more than 80 MD-90 and two-class regional jets, retiring less efficient mainline and regional aircraft.
Image: Delta Air Lines.
AirTran Airways Boeing 717-231 N932AT (msn 55073) (Milwaukee Brewers) BWI (Tony Storck), originally uploaded by Airliners Gallery.
AirTran Airways (Orlando) at the Air Line Pilots Association Int’l (ALPA), representing the pilots of AirTran Airways, have reached a tentative agreement after more than five years of contract negotiations. The agreement represents the first contract for AirTran pilots since they joined ALPA in 2009.
The terms of the tentative agreement establish the foundation for a fair and equitable contract. Details of the settlement will not be released to the public until approved by the AirTran Master Executive Council (MEC) and ratified by AirTran pilots. If the pilot representatives on the AirTran MEC give their approval, a membership ratification vote will take place in November.
AirTran has agreed to be acquired by Southwest Airlines and is awaiting shareholder and regulatory approval for the buyout.
On the financial side, AirTran Holdings, Inc., the parent company of AirTran Airways, Inc., today reported a net profit of $36.3 million or $0.22per diluted share for the third quarter of 2010. During the quarter, the Company reported operating income of $56.7 million.
Included in these third quarter results is a non-operating gain on derivative financial instruments of $15.3 million. This non-operating gain on derivative financial instruments was largely attributable to unrealized increases in the fair value of our future fuel-related derivative assets. During the same period in 2009, AirTran Airways reported net income of $10.4 million, and diluted earnings per common share of $0.08. Included in our third quarter 2009 results is a non-operating loss on derivative financial instruments of $10.3 million. The Company ended the third quarter with $424.5 million in unrestricted cash and the Company’s revolving line of credit remains undrawn.
During this period, the Company also achieved an all-time record for traffic (revenue passenger miles), and second highest load factor in Company history. AirTran Airways also established record setting operational metrics during the quarter, including the highest ever performance in on-time arrivals at 83.4 percent. In July alone, AirTran Airways served more than 2.4 million customers and achieved a load factor in excess of 88 percent. The Company continued to rank among the top of the industry in completion factor, mishandled baggage rate and the number of customer complaints the Department of Transportation receives.
Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. Please click on photo for further details.
AirTran Airways Boeing 717-2BD N949AT (msn 55003) (Orlando Magic) FLL (Dave Campbell), originally uploaded by Airliners Gallery.
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) announced today (September 27) that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (Orlando), the parent company of AirTran Airways (Orlando), for a combination of cash and Southwest Airlines’ common stock.
At Southwest Airlines’ closing stock price of $12.28 on September 24, 2010, the transaction values AirTran common stock at $7.69 per share, or approximately $1.4 billion in the aggregate, including AirTran’s outstanding convertible notes. This represents a premium of 69 percent over the September 24, 2010 closing price of AirTran stock. Under the agreement, each share of AirTran common stock will be exchanged for $3.75 in cash and 0.321 shares of Southwest Airlines’ common stock, subject to certain adjustments, based on Southwest Airlines’ share price prior to closing. Including the existing AirTran net indebtedness and capitalized aircraft operating leases, the transaction value is approximately $3.4 billion.
The agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of each company, and closing is subject to the approval of AirTran stockholders, receipt of certain regulatory clearances, and fulfillment of customary closing conditions.
The acquisition will significantly expand Southwest Airlines’ low-fare service to many more Customers in many more domestic markets (especially the mega hub at Atlanta), creating hundreds of additional low-fare itineraries for the traveling public. Moreover, the expansion of low fares should generate hundreds of millions in annual savings to consumers. Based on an economic analysis by Campbell-Hill Aviation Group, LLP*, Southwest Airlines’ more expansive low-fare service at Atlanta, alone, has the potential to stimulate over two million new passengers and over $200 million in consumer savings, annually. These savings would be created from the new low-fare competition that Southwest Airlines would be able to provide as a result of the acquisition, expanding the well-known “Southwest Effect’” of reducing fares and stimulating new passenger traffic wherever it flies.
AirTran revenues and operating income, excluding special items, for the twelve months ending June 30, 2010, were $2.5 billion and $128 million, respectively. Southwest Airlines revenues and operating income, excluding special items, for the twelve months ending June 30, 2010, were $11.2 billion and $843 million, respectively. The proposed transaction, including the anticipated benefit of net synergies, but excluding the impact of one-time acquisition and integration costs, is expected to be accretive to Southwest Airlines pro forma fully-diluted earnings per share in the first year after the close of the transaction and strongly accretive thereafter. Net annual synergies are expected to exceed $400 million by 2013. One-time costs related to the acquisition and integration of AirTran are expected to be in the range of $300 million to $500 million.
As of June 30, 2010, the combined unrestricted cash and short-term investments of the two companies was $3.7 billion. Southwest Airlines intends to fund approximately $670 million in cash consideration for the transaction out of cash on hand. Since June 30, Southwest’s cash and short-term investments balance has increased from $3.1 billion to $3.3 billion. In addition, Southwest Airlines has a fully available, unsecured revolving credit facility of $600 million.
Based on current operations, the combined organization would have nearly 43,000 Employees and serve more than 100 million Customers annually from more than 100 different airports in the U.S. and near-international destinations. In addition, the combined carriers’ all-Boeing fleet consisting of 685 active aircraft would include 401 Boeing 737-700s, 173 Boeing 737-300s, 25 Boeing 737-500s, and 86 Boeing 717s, with an average age of approximately 10 years, one of the youngest fleets in the industry. Southwest Airlines also announced, previously, that it is evaluating the opportunity to introduce the Boeing 737-800 into its domestic network to complement its current fleet, providing opportunities for longer-haul flying and service to high-demand, slot-controlled, or gate-restricted markets. This acquisition supports Southwest Airlines’ evaluation of the Boeing 737-800.
Until closing, Southwest Airlines and AirTran will continue to operate as independent companies. After closing, Bob Fornaro will continue to be involved in the integration of the two companies. Southwest Airlines plans to integrate AirTran into the Southwest Airlines Brand by transitioning the AirTran fleet to the Southwest Airlines livery, developing a consistent Customer Experience, and consolidating corporate functions into its Dallas headquarters. Subject to receipt of necessary approvals, Southwest Airlines’ integration plans include transitioning the operations of the two carriers to a Single Operating Certificate. Plans for existing AirTran facilities will be developed by integration teams and decisions will be announced at appropriate times. The carriers’ frequent-flyer programs will be combined over time, as well.
Copyright Photo: Dave Campbell. Southwest Airlines will become a new operator of the Boeing 717. Both companies are very supportive of logojets and special promotions. 717-2BD N949AT (msn 55003) in the Orlando Magic motif taxies to the runway at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.
AirTran Airways (Orlando) today announced several new flights to Ft. Myers. The airline also announced additional service to Las Vegas.
AirTran Airways will offer flights to Ft. Myers from Bloomington/Normal, IL (starting on March 9, 2011), Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY (starting on March 8, 2011), Moline/Quad Cities, IL (starting on March 8, 2011), and Rochester, NY 9starting on November 20, 2010).
In addition to the new Ft. Myers flights, AirTran Airways is also adding service from Indianapolis to Las Vegas, five times a week, starting on March 10, 2011.
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Boeing 717-231 N925AT (msn 55079) in the special “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” promotional scheme prepares to land at Baltimore/Washington.
AirTran Airways Boeing 717-2BD N895AT (msn 55047) MIA (Bruce Drum), originally uploaded by Airliners Gallery.
AirTran Airways (Orlando) will drop the Atlanta-Miami route on October 7.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 717-2BD N895AT (msn 55047) taxies to the gate at MIA.
Blue1 Boeing 717-23S OH-BLM (msn 55066) MIA (Eddy Gual) (new type, new livery), originally uploaded by Airliners Gallery.
Blue1 (blue1.com) (Helsinki) will soon take delivery of its first Boeing 717. The new induction is also triggering a new livery. Each aircraft will have an unique design.
Copyright Photo: Eddy Gual. The first is 717-23S OH-BLM (msn 55066) which was painted at Miami.
AirTran Holdings, Inc. (Orlando) the parent company of AirTran Airways, Inc., reported a net profit of $12.4 million or $0.09 per diluted share for the second quarter of 2010. Excluding $26.4 million in unrealized losses, net of taxes, related to the reduction in value of future fuel hedges, the Company’s net income for the quarter would have been $38.8 million dollars or $0.23 per diluted share. This result is particularly noteworthy given the 37.2 percent increase in the per-gallon cost of jet fuel, the airline’s single largest expense, year-over-year.
AirTran set quarterly records for revenue passenger miles flown, load factor and enplaned passengers. For the first time in AirTran Airways’ history, load factor topped 83 percent in the second quarter.
Copyright Photo: Norbert G. Raith. Boeing 717-2BD N949AT (msn 55003) painted in the Orlando Magic scheme, arrives at the ATL hub.
AirTran Airways Boeing 717-2BD N892AT (msn 55044) MIA (Bruce Drum), originally uploaded by Airliners Gallery.
AirTran Airways (Orlando) yesterday (May 29) began new nonstop service between Wichita Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, KS, and Orlando International Airport. The airline will offer a Saturday nonstop flight between the two cities.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 717-2BD N892AT (msn 55044) prepares for takeoff at Miami.
Blue1 (Helsinki) will invest in 120-seat Boeing 717-200 aircraft for its fleet to meet the needs of its rapidly expanding route network and increasing operations.
Blue1 is focusing more and more on becoming a business travelers’ airline, with a strong emphasis on both the number of routes and operations. The contents of the service product are also being renewed to respond to the new needs of the Finnish business traveler. The Boeing 717 has an important role in the company’s route strategy and the growth of operations, as well as the service experience for our customers.
The first Boeing 717 aircraft will join the Blue1 fleet in the autumn of 2010. The total number of aircraft in the fleet will be nine within six months. With the acquisition of the Boeing 717, Blue1’s aim is to double its fleet in a couple of years and to transfer to a fleet of just one type of aircraft.
As part of this new introduction, Blue1 will also introduce an unique and different blue color scheme for each aircraft.
AirTran Airways Boeing 717-2BD N895AT (msn 55047) MIA (Bruce Drum), originally uploaded by Airliners Gallery.
AirTran Holdings, Inc. (Orlando), the parent company of AirTran Airways, Inc., reported a net loss of $12.0 million or $0.09 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2010. Excluding $4.7 million in unrealized gains on future fuel hedges, the Company’s net loss for the quarter would have been $16.7 million dollars or $0.12 per diluted share. The impact of historic winter snowstorms along the Eastern Seaboard and more than a 50 percent increase in fuel expenses offset record total revenues for the first quarter.
AirTran Airways experienced significant revenue improvement that accelerated through the quarter with total unit revenues increasing by a solid double-digit margin year-over-year in March.
The Company posted record first quarter total revenues of $605.1 million on a record load factor of 77.2 percent. Operating costs increased 21.8 percent or $107.8 million as compared to the same period last year. Fuel was the single largest contributor to the cost increase, accounting for over 60 percent or $67.3 million of the increase. Last year, crude oil averaged $41 per barrel in the first quarter but has risen to $78 this year. Winter storms further pressured unit costs due to reduced capacity and additional expenses related to extreme weather during the quarter.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 717-2BD N895AT (msn 55047) taxies to the gate at Miami.