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Tue, Jan 06, 2004

Last AirTran DC-9 Flies Last Leg

Airline Now Claims One of the Youngest All-Boeing Fleets in the World

AirTran Airways has told us that the final flight of the airline's last DC-9 aircraft, Ship number 949 made her final descent Monday, January 5, 2004, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The 32-year old DC-9, registration number N849AT, rolled off the Douglas assembly line in Long Beach, Calif., on December 1, 1971, and AirTran Airways acquired the aircraft on October 30, 1996. The aircraft logged 69,788 flights and 77,900 flight hours total upon retirement.

The crew on the flights were Captain Michael D. "Mad Dog" Watson, Captain Rich Umbel, Lead Flight Attendant Lisa Misconis, and Flight Attendants Karen Gold and Ludmila Dahknovskaia.

AirTran Airways has operated DC-9 aircraft since the airline's first day of service, October 26, 1993, and, at one point, the airline had more than 50 DC-9s in its fleet. The airline has donated three DC-9's - two to technical training colleges in both Kansas City, Mo., and in Eastman, Ga., for use in training future airline mechanics, and one DC-9 is on display at the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton, Va., where it is the centerpiece of an interactive exhibit in the Aviation Exhibit Hall.

With Monday's retirement of the last DC-9, AirTran Airways operates a fleet of 73 new Boeing 717s (right), making the airline the largest operator of the Boeing 717 aircraft in the world. In addition, the airline's July 1, 2003, announcement of an order for 100 Boeing 737s and 10 additional Boeing 717s, further solidifies its fleet modernization plan. The first Boeing 737 will be delivered in June 2004.

"The DC-9 remains a reliable aircraft, and its last flight with AirTran Airways marks the end of an era," stated Joe Leonard, AirTran Airways' chairman and chief executive officer. "We look forward to the future as we continue to offer our customers outstanding air travel options on a newer and younger state-of-the-art Boeing fleet."

FMI: www.airtran.com

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