MIAMI — The Delta 717 flights to EWR have now been uploaded into the Amadeus GDS and will be gradually loaded onto Delta.com over the course of this weekend. As per the Airline Route blog, here are the schedules for the week of October 20th – the first full week when the 717 will operate all 11 daily Atlanta-Newark flights:
Delta Air Lines has loaded its first schedules featuring the Boeing 717. According to Delta’s Desktop timetable application on the latest release, the first route to feature the 717 aircraft will be Atlanta-Newark, beginning on September 19th, 2013. The first flight scheduled to see 717 service is the 8:55 am departure, which will arrive into Newark at 11:07 am. 3 Atlanta-Newark flights that day are scheduled to be served with the 717, and between 1 and 3 Atlanta-Newark flights are scheduled with the 717 until October 6th, when the figure jumps to 6 or 7 out of 11 till October 19th, when every single Atlanta-Newark flight is scheduled with the 717. For the moment, Atlanta – Newark is the only route that sees service from the 717 till the end of November. As of this moment, the flights are not bookable through Delta.com (which still shows the A319 as operating all flights that show up as 717 in the desktop timetable) or the global distribution system (GDS). We will update the story when this changes.
In July 2012 Delta decided to leased 88 used 717s from rival low cost carrier (LCC) AirTran Airways. The latter decided to phase out the type after merging with Dallas based LCC Southwest Airlines. Delta will be using its new fleet of 717s to replace the venerable Douglas DC 9-50s it inherited after merging with Northwest Airlines in 2008. DC-9-50 retirements dates speculation range from the end of 2013 to sometime in 2014. Delta has yet to officially announce when they will finally go.
Delta is also using the 717s to replaces some of its inefficient 50-seat CRJ-200 fleet. Delta, the world’s largest airline by passengers flown, has been quite the contrarian in its fleet re-equipping strategy by taking on used aircraft such as MD-90s from China and continuing to fly older fuel-guzzling equipment that’s already paid for such as the DC-9-50 years after other airlines have ceased to operate them.
The 717 holds a significant operating cost advantage over the DC 9-50, especially in fuel burn and maintenance cost. The 88 717s will be delivered to Delta between August 2013 and December 2015 as shown in the graphic below. At the end of October 2013, Delta is scheduled to have 9 717s on property.
At one time TWA operated the 717. Now, Hawaiian and Delta will eventually be the only 717 operators remaining in the United States 156 were built between 1998 and 2006. The aircraft entered service in late 1999 with AirTran, who used them to replace the DC-9-30s and became the world’s largest operator of the type. Hawaiian has discussed retiring their 717s late in this decade or early in the 2020s. It would seem Delta may be an ideal buyer or lessor.