Southwest to pay to rehab 717 aircraft it is leasing to Delta

(Photo by Todd DeFeo / (c) 2012)

ATLANTA — Southwest Airlines is planning to spend $100 million on refurbishing to 88 Boeing 717 aircraft that it is planning to lease to Delta Airlines, according to published reports.

That happens to be twice as much as it would cost Southwest to keep the planes. It is instead planning to replace them with 737 aircraft. “We just amazingly found a home for all 88 of those aircraft,” The Associated Press quoted Southwest CEO Gary Kelly as saying.

Earlier this month, Atlanta-based Delta, Dallas-based Southwest and Boeing Capital Corp., finalized the agreement for the Boeing 717s, which are currently in service at Southwest subsidiary AirTran Airways, the airline announced today. Southwest will “transition approximately three 717 aircraft per month beginning August 2013,” the company previously announced.

The first16 scheduled to enter Delta’s fleet in 2013, an additional 36 will be delivered in 2014 and the remaining 36 in 2015. The Boeing 717s will primarily replace small 50-seat regional jets on a capacity-neutral basis, Delta said.

The 110-seat aircraft will feature new, fully upgraded interiors. They will include 12 First Class seats, 15 Economy Comfort seats and in-flight WiFi throughout the aircraft; seats in Economy will be arranged in a 2-3 configuration with one middle seat per row.

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