Yesterday, a Boeing 717 operated by Delta Air Lines ended up in a spot of bother at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT). Due to fly to Atlanta (ATL), the flight had to be evacuated from the rear after it came off the taxiway shortly before departure.
Thankfully, aircraft departing paved surfaces at the airport are rare. However, they do happen from time to time and can leave aircraft in difficult positions. Around two months ago, a Spirit Airways A320neo slipped off the taxiway shortly after arriving at Baltimore/Washington International Airport. Yesterday a Delta Air Lines Boeing 717 suffered a similar fate.
Pittsburgh taxiway excursion
Yesterday a Delta Boeing 717 registered as N998AT landed in Pittsburgh at 16:31 as DL2231 after an uneventful flight. Following a turnaround at the Pennsylvania airport, the aircraft was due to fly back to Atlanta with 77 individuals onboard, including crew. The flight was scheduled to depart at 17:40 to head back to Atlanta.
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Unfortunately, this flight didn’t go as planned. It didn’t even leave the ground in Pittsburgh. At 18:26 local time, the aircraft came off of Taxiway Foxtrot near the end of Runway 10R. Photos of the incident shared on social media show heavy snow at the time of the incident. At this time, it is unknown whether the incident was weather-related.
It seems as though passengers were unable to leave the aircraft by the front doors. Instead, they were eventually evacuated from the aircraft via its rear exit. Photos seem to show a deflated slide hanging off the plane. Firefighters finally access the aircraft via a set of American Airlines branded stairs.
Welp, this @delta flight didn’t go as planned! grateful to be back on solid ground and for the firefighters and first responders that rescued us tonight!
From this angle, 2021 looks a LOT like 2020… pic.twitter.com/lUv37kyFkw
— Eleanor Sharp (@esharpmd) February 11, 2021
Commenting on the incident, a Delta Air Lines spokesperson told Simple Flying,
“While on taxi-out prior to departure, Delta flight 2231 from Pittsburgh to Atlanta exited the taxiway paved surface. Delta teams worked with the airport authority to safely transport customers back to the terminal. We apologize to our customers for the delay and inconvenience and are working to reaccommodate them as quickly as possible.”
About the aircraft
As mentioned above, the aircraft involved in the excursion was a Boeing 717 registered as N998AT. According to Planespotters.net, the aircraft was delivered new to AirTran Airways in December 2002. Retaining its registration, the aircraft was transferred across to Delta Air Lines on February 27th, 2014. Both airlines leased the aircraft from Boeing Capital Corporation.
According to data from RadarBox.com, throughout the current crisis, the aircraft has remained in use with Delta Air Lines. Indeed, across the last 12 months, the aircraft operated 1716 flights. This equated to 2393 flight hours and 708,030 nautical miles flown. With an average flight duration of 1.4 hours over the past year, the aircraft has been flying around 6.9 hours each day.
Have you flown on a Delta Air Lines Boeing 717? How did you find the experience? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!