This month saw Europe’s last operator of the Boeing 717 retire the type after nearly 20 years of sterling service.
As one of the least-produced Boeing aircraft models, it leads us to wonder who still flies this increasingly rare type?
Volotea Bows Out
Europe’s last operator of the Boeing 717 was Volotea- the Spanish airline with bases in Spain, France, Greece and Italy.
Volotea began operations back in 2011 and its first aircraft type was the 717. It sourced these second-hand, but they were still relatively new airframes at the time and served the airline well as it expanded its low-cost model across Europe.
In total it flew 19 different Boeing 717s over the past ten years.
However, on 10th January EC-FCB flew the airline’s final revenue flight with the 717, between Palermo and Genoa in Italy. The next day it was flown to Venice Marco Polo airport where it and the other seven remaining 717s in the airline’s fleet are being put in storage.
The airline had originally planned to keep their 717s going for another two years, but with the downturn in passenger flying thanks to Covid-19, it has accelerated these plans. Volotea’s fleet now comprises only Airbus A319s. It is not known what the future holds for their 717s yet.
Who Still Flies the 717?
With Volotea retiring its Boeing 717 fleet there are now no European operators of the type. There are, however, still three airlines flying the 717. They are:
This airline uses a fleet of 19 Boeing 717s on its intra-island services throughout Hawaii. It is expected to keep the type in service for a number of years still.
Delta Air Lines
The largest operator of the Boeing 717, Delta Air Lines inherited its fleet largely from AirTran Airways after it was taken over by Southwest Airlines. It flies them on domestic routes from various US bases.
In total Delta has flown over 90 Boeing 717s, but since the Covid outbreak it has been actively reducing its fleet and it is thought the type’s retiremenet will be imminent.
Cobham Aviation Services Australia operate 21 Boeing 717s on behalf of QantasLink, the regional partner of Qantas. These fly regional routes within Australia and are expected to fly on for a few more years at least.