Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Georgia - June 25, 2005 (9:13am)
I just barely made it on AirTran flight 22, which took me from Atlanta to Chicago’s Midway airport as my previous flight ran late. I managed to get a couple of pictures of it (including this one) before I boarded this plane and it left almost immediately after I got on. It turns out this was the 100th Boeing 717 built. It was originally manufactured for VuelaMex and was even painted in that airline’s livery but was not taken up. Instead, it went to AirTran, the launch customer and largest operator of Boeing 717 aircraft. At one time, AirTran (previously known as ValueJet) had a large fleet of McDonnell Douglas DC-9 series 30 aircraft. These were all phased out in favor of the Boeing 717-200, which was the perfect replacement because of its almost identical size. Up until recently, AirTran’s fleet was made up exclusively of fuel-efficient Boeing 717 aircraft. In order to expand its routes, AirTran recently acquired several Boeing 737-700 aircraft and will probably also be ordering 737-800s, too. In addition to being fuel-efficient, these Next Generation 737s also have a longer range than the Boeing 717.
(Photo by George, Canon PowerShot S200)