Delta & Southwest Finalize Plane Lease Deal

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NEW YORK (AP) – Delta Air Lines Inc. has finalized an agreement to add 88 Boeing 717s to its fleet by leasing planes from Southwest Airlines.

Dallas-based Southwest inherited the 717s when it bought AirTran last year. Southwest wants to get back to flying all 737s, like it did before that combination. Flying only one type of plane allows it to save on maintenance and streamlines pilot training.

The leasing deal was made public in May. Finalization was announced Monday. The agreement hinged upon Delta’s securing a contract deal with its pilots, which it reached late last month.

Delta will use the 717s to replace 50-seat regional jets, which are increasingly unprofitable at higher fuel prices. They’ll also replace the DC-9s that Delta got when it bought Northwest in 2007.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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