AirTran orders six 717s

Boeing announced today that AirTran Airways, America’s second-largest low-fare airline, is expanding its fleet of 717 passenger aircraft with a $225 million order for six 717s.

Boeing and AirTran Airways today said the airline is expanding its fleet of 717 passenger aircraft with an order for six 717s valued at $225 million at list price. Deliveries will begin next year.

The transaction includes firm orders for two aircraft and exercise of existing options for the remainder. AirTran Airways operates 76 717s, giving it the world’s largest 717 fleet and the youngest all-Boeing fleet in the United States.

“The 717 is the cornerstone of our operation,” said Joe Leonard, AirTran Airways’ chairman and chief executive officer. “In the five years of operating the aircraft, the 717 has delivered the efficiency, reliability and maintenance cost advantages we were counting on. I believe that the 717 has made AirTran Airways the most cost-efficient airline operating today.”

According to Boeing, AirTran Airways estimates a 24 percent increase in fuel efficiency since converting to a 717 fleet. The airline is also said to have realised ‘significant improvements’ in maintenance costs and cycle time.

This follows AirTran Airways’ July 2003 order of up to 100 Boeing 737s as part of the airline’s fleet and route expansion. The first 737-700 from that order will soon be delivered.

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