10-Jul-2012 1:29 PM

Delta to add Boeing 717 fleet in 2013 following agreement with Southwest Airlines and Boeing

Delta Air Lines stated (09-Jul-2012) it will add 88 Boeing 717-200 aircraft to its fleet starting in 2013. Delta has finalised an agreement with Southwest Airlines and Boeing covering the lease or sublease of the 717s, which are currently in service at Southwest subsidiary AirTran Airways. The aircraft will begin delivery in 2013, with 16 scheduled to enter Delta's fleet. An additional 36 will be delivered in 2014, and the remaining 36 in 2015. Details include:

  • Southwest/AirTran: Southwest will transition approximately three 717 aircraft per month beginning Aug-2013. For Southwest, the agreement will avoid converting the AirTran 717 fleet into Southwest as part of the AirTran integration. The company's aircraft rent expense associated with 717s will be eliminated as each aircraft is transitioned to Delta. The company's total estimated AirTran acquisition and integration costs are expected to increase by approximately USD50 million as a result of the aircraft transition costs assumed as part of this 717 agreement. Southwest's annual pre-tax results are expected to benefit by approximately USD200 million, after all 717s are transitioned to Delta and replaced with 737s;
  • Delta: The 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 seats and in-flight Wi-Fi throughout the aircraft. Seats in economy will be arranged in a 2-3 configuration. Delta CEO Richard Anderson said, "Adding the Boeing 717 to our fleet will give customers, particularly business travelers, more mainline aircraft service that features their preferred amenities. The 717s also provide Delta with a significant improvement in economic efficiency relative to the aircraft they are replacing." The 717 initiative is the latest step in Delta's domestic fleet optimisation plan launched in 2010. Delta will begin taking delivery in 2013 of new 737-900ERs, which will primarily replace older 757,767 and A320 aircraft. Delta will add 100 new 737-900ERs 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. [more - original PR - Delta] [more - original PR - Southwest]

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