Volotea Operates Europe’s Last Scheduled Boeing 717 Flights

On January 10th, Spanish budget carrier Volotea operated its Boeing 717 jets for the final time with a series of domestic flights in Italy. The carrier has phased the type out in favor of the Airbus A319. Sunday’s farewell tour effectively put an end to Europe’s relationship with the 717.

Volotea 717
Volotea was the last European carrier to operate the Boeing 717. Photo: Getty Images

As reported by Airways Magazine, Sunday’s Volotea 717 final flights included stops at Cagliari (CAG), Catania (CAT), Genoa (GOA), Naples (NAP), Palermo (PMO), Turin (TRN), and Verona (VRN). From there, the planes gathered in Venice (VCE).

In the days to come, they will travel to the aircraft graveyard in Victorville, California, thus putting an end to the airline’s – and Europe’s – relationship with the 717.

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An important part of Volotea’s journey

Volotea commenced operations out of Venice’s Marco Polo Airport with two Boeing 717s in 2012. The first was delivered in December 2011 and came from Midwest Airlines via a brief and sporadic stint with Mexicana Click. It is still in operation today with Hawaiian Airlines after exiting Volotea’s fleet in 2017.

Volotea has since operated 19 of the 717 over the years. Now, at the time of the type’s official retirement, nine of the aircraft remained in its fleet, only two of which were listed as active. The airline has previously announced its intention to replace the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 derivatives with Airbus A319s.

Simple Flying has reached out to Volotea for comment on its 717 retirement but was yet to receive a response at the time of publication.

Volotea Getty
Volotea commenced operations with only two 717s. Photo: Getty Images

A319s instead

The Spanish LCC, which focuses on Southern Europe, now has 20 A319s in its fleet. The first, EC-MTF or Oh Vole Mio, arrived from Air Malta in March 2017. Among other notable Volotea A319 names, we have Han Volo, Vo-lalá, Avollo 11, and Hasta la Pista, baby. The last one to be delivered in June last year is Volotean Rhapsody. Three more are due to arrive with the carrier imminently.

The last of Europe’s 717s

Volotea was the final European airline to operate the Boeing 717. All other carriers that flew the type on the continent have ceased operations entirely or have been restarted in a different format.

Finland’s Blue1, a subsidiary of the SAS Group, operated nine 717s between 2010 and 2015.  Five of those came from Spanish Quantum Air, previously Aerolíneas de Baleares, which collapsed in 2010.

Olympic Airways 717
Olympic Airlines’ subsidiary Olympic Aviation once operated three 717s with mythical names. Photo: JetPix via Wikimedia Commons

In turn, three of these came from former Greek flag carrier Olympic Airlines, which operated the type between 1999 and 2007. They were then named Andromeda, Kassiopi, and Iridanos.

Another Spanish airline, Spanair, operated a total of four between 2007 and 2011. Many of the former European Boeing 717s have ended up with Qantas under the airline’s regional brand QantasLink.

Only three operators left

This leaves the Boeing 717 with only three remaining operators worldwide. We have already mentioned QantasLink, which has a total of 20. Delta Air Lines is by far the largest 717 operator, with as many as 85 currently listed in its fleet, close to half of which are parked. Hawaiian Airlines has 19, 13 of which are currently in service.

However, both Delta and Hawaiian have laid out plans to retire their 717s by the middle of the decade.

What is your relationship to the Boeing 717? Will you miss it? Tell us about it in the comment section.