First Delta 717s to Arrive Next Year in Deal With Southwest
Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines said Monday that they have finalized a previously-announced agreement through which Delta will lease AirTran’s entire fleet of 88 Boeing 717 aircraft beginning in 2013.
The first batch consisting of 16 717s will join Delta’s fleet in 2013, followed by another 36 in 2014 and the final 36 in 2015.
Delta plans to refurnish the planes with new interiors, cutting seating capacity while adding premium options. Currently outfitted with 117 seats at AirTran (12 Business Class and 105 Coach Class), each 717 will hold only 110 passengers while flying for Delta: 12 First Class, 15 Economy Comfort and 83 Economy Class.
Like all other Delta aircraft, the 717s will offer in-flight wifi from Gogo. Since these planes are already outfitted with Gogo hardware from their lives with AirTran, this might be one aspect which doesn’t require physical replacement, just some reprogramming.
“Adding the Boeing 717 to our fleet will give customers, particularly business travelers, more mainline aircraft service that features their preferred amenities,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. “The 717s also provide Delta with a significant improvement in economic efficiency relative to the aircraft they are replacing.”
Delta will drop approximately two 50-seat regional jets from its operation for each 717 added.
All-737-operator Southwest had been looking to unload AirTran’s 717s since completing its purchase of the Atlanta-based carrier in May 2011.