AirTran Airways will defer 18 Boeing 737-700 aircraft to limit growth as it battles rising fuel costs.
The carrier will add six aircraft to its fleet next year, but 18 Boeing 737-700s that had been scheduled for delivery between 2009 and 2011 have been deferred to 2013-2014
"As we stated during our first quarter earnings call, as a result of continuing record high fuel costs, we are reducing planned growth for September, 2008, through at least 2009 from 10% to no more than flat. This transaction will accomplish a substantial portion of that plan," says Bob Fornaro, AirTran Airways' president and CEO.
AirTran has sold four Boeing 737-700s to Arik Air. The sale is expected to improve planned cash flow by over $40 million through cash gains on the sale and the avoidance of equity investments in the aircraft.
The airline currently operates 54 Boeing 737-700 series aircraft as well as 87 Boeing 717-200 aircraft.