Delta to add Boeing 717s in 2013, replacing smaller jets

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.

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