MIAMI — When Southwest Airlines announced that it would acquire AirTran Airways, many wondered what Southwest would do with the 717s AirTran had. It seemed unlikely that Southwest would operate two aircraft types because it has been an exclusive 737 operator since birth, with the exception of a few leased 727s from Braniff in the late 1970s.
In 2012, Southwest was able to make a deal with Delta Air Lines to lease them through 2024. This deal was perfect for Delta because they would provide a great replacement to the older DC-9-50 aircraft it planned to retire. The first 717 entered service with Delta Air Lines in the Fall of 2013, and it will continue to add more to its fleet through next year.
In May, Southwest published the final AirTran schedule. On the final day of operations, AirTran would operate approximately 90 flights with only 717s.
Many were surprised to see that several 717s would end the day in outstations including Chicago and Houston, and many hoped there would be a few more flights added to Atlanta on December 29 for one final flight.
Unfortunately, this would not be the case. They are wasting no time in getting them stored temporarily or to locations like Miami to be converted.
Aircraft by Aircraft
The flights below are scheduled to operate tomorrow. Some aircraft are headed to Goodyear Airport for storage, until they can be converted into the Delta configuration. The aircraft that are headed to VQQ (Cecil Airport) will begin the process of getting configured.
|Aircraft Number||Departs at:||Origin||Destination|
Earlier today, aircraft 765 ferried to VQQ. It quietly pushed back from gate C7 to not much fanfare other than a few ground crew workers shaking hands as it pulled away.
Please note that the schedule above is subject to change.