By Darren Shannon in Washington, DC
US low-cost carrier AirTran Airways, as scheduled, today took delivery of the last 717 to be built by Boeing.
The delivery was completed during an event held at the Long Beach, California manufacturing plant that has produced more than 15,000, mostly Douglas, aircraft since opening in 1941. The penultimate 717 was also officially delivered to the USA’s other major 717 operator, Midwest Airlines.
“AirTran Airways would like to thank the many Boeing employees for their hard work and dedication over the years and enabling us to build a world-class aircraft fleet that is unparalleled in the aviation industry,” says the carrier’s chairman and chief operating officer Joe Leonard.
The delivery concludes 65 years of aircraft production at Long Beach, which dates back to its original owner Douglas Aircraft. Boeing produced 156 units of the 717 platform inherited from its acquisition of McDonnell Douglas in 1997.
“The 717 is an example of lean manufacturing and employee involvement that has now been incorporated into several other Boeing Commercial Airplanes production lines,” says the division’s president and chief executive Alan Mulally. “We’re extremely proud of the airplane, the employees and our supplier partners.”
Flight International West Coast editor Guy Norris was at the roll-out ceremony of the last 717, last month in Long Beach. Read his account of the dawn service and view his exclusive pictures.