On December 28, 2014, AirTran Flight #1 closed the commercial chapter of AirTran Airways history when it landed in Tampa just before midnight. The next morning, all remaining 717s were flown to Goodyear, AZ, for short-term storage in the favorable desert environment. Yesterday morning, the last 717 in AirTran livery took to the skies for the final time on its way to conversion in Florida.
The AirTran 717 Fleet in storage at Phoenix Goodyear Airport (GYR), December 2014
N945AT, ship number 706, was one of the first 717s off the assembly line in Long Beach back in 1999. After undergoing the necessary Maintenance and Safety checks, its two Captains (both now Southwest Employees) and an observer from Tech Ops boarded for the flight to Cecil Field, a few miles from Jacksonville International Airport, where it landed at about 3:45 p.m. At Cecil, the aircraft will be repainted and reconfigured prior to being delivered to its next operator.
ATL Sr Systems Engineer Mike Barnett, DMX Manager Airframe Field Service Jerry Hunsinger, B717 Delivery Test Pilots Bill Schratz & Tom Preston
Since AirTran Airways completed revenue service in December, all Crew Members have become Southwest Employees, but a Team of about 30 have been continuing to work on the task of seeing the remaining 717 fleet throughout all stages of the transition process. Between Dispatchers, Mechanics, Pilots, and several others behind the scenes, these dedicated Employees have kept the program on track for completion later this year when the final aircraft changes hands in the fourth quarter.
Manager Aircraft Routing Tom Whited and Dispatcher Brandon Fenton