The 717 is designed to meet replacement and expansion needs in the 100-seat category, projected at approximately 3,000 airplanes. Final assembly of the 717 takes place on a unique moving production line at the Boeing facility in Long Beach, CA. Boeing believes in the 717, despite less-than-expected order activity for all 100-seat airplanes in the past several years. This market remains fertile, but it has developed slower than forecasted. Boeing plans to stay the course because it recognizes that the 717 is the right product to fulfill airline needs. Boeing has affirmed its commitment to the 717 program and the 100-passenger market by announcing it will continue production of the airplane at its Long Beach final assembly facility. This reaffirmation of the 717 follows a detailed evaluation of the program's economics and the 100-seat airliner market.
The 717-200 is a twin-engine aircraft designed for short-haul short-field operations. It can carry 106 passengers in a mixed class configuration up to a range of approximately 2000 miles. It is designed to sustain daily 8 to 12 one-hour flights for fast turnaround at airport gates. The 717-200 is powered by two advanced BMW/Rolls-Royce BR715 high-bypass-ratio engines. The BR715 engine is rated at 18,500 pounds of takeoff thrust, with lower fuel consumption, reduced exhaust emissions and significantly lower noise levels than the power plants on comparable airplanes. The thrust is uprated to 21,000 pounds for the high-gross-weight option airplanes.
The airplane was designated the Boeing 717 following the merger of McDonnell Douglas and The Boeing Company in 1997. The 717 entered a rigorous flight-test program in September 1998 and received joint certification a year later. It was the first commercial airplane to receive a Concurrent and Cooperative Certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Europe's Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA). The FAA and JAA jointly certified the 717's first major upgrade to the airplane's flight control computer and flight management system in October 2000.
The launch customer, AirTran Airways of Orlando, Fla., took delivery of the first 717 in September 1999. In addition to AirTran, other worldwide customers include Aerolineas Baleares, Bavaria International Aircraft Leasing Co., Hawaiian Airlines, Pembroke Capital Leasing Ltd., Turkmenistan Airlines, and TWA (American Airlines). Operators via lease include Bangkok Airways, QantasLink (Impulse Airlines), and Olympic Aviation. The 717 has more total customer commitments than any other airplane in its class. More than 70 airplanes are in revenue service.
The 717 will meet replacement and expansion needs in the 100-seat category, projected at approximately 3,000 airplanes over 20 years. Final assembly of the 717 takes place at the Boeing plant in Long Beach, Calif.
The standard 717-200 has a two-class configuration with 106 seats. Its passenger-pleasing interior features a five-across-seating arrangement in economy class, with illuminated handrails and large overhead stowbins.
The two-crew flight deck incorporates the industry's most modern and proven avionics technology, configured around six interchangeable liquid-crystal-display units and advanced Honeywell VIA 2000 computer systems similar to those in other new Boeing jetliners.
Flight deck features include an Electronic Instrument System, a dual Flight Management System, a Central Fault Display System, and Global Positioning System. Category IIIb automatic landing capability for bad-weather operations and Future Air Navigation Systems are available.
In January 2005 it was reported that Boeing planned to shut down the production line of the 717, its smallest jetliner, after all orders are filled. The company will likely close the line in spring 2006. Demand for the 717, which Boeing inherited when it purchased McDonnell Douglas, dwindled in 2004 with just eight new orders placed.
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