Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
Northwest1988
Topic Author
Posts: 383
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:10 pm

Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:25 am

Hello all,

Although it's not operating with very many airlines across the world, the 717 seems to be very popular with the airlines that do fly it. With that being said I think we will see them flying with airlines like Delta and Hawaiian for a while. But down the road when they start getting up there in years, what will become of them?

The DC-9 went on to become extremely popular with freight airlines like USA jet. The MD-80 does not seem as popular with the freighter airlines, but since the 717 is basically a modernized DC-9, do you think we will see them converted into freight dogs? It seems like it would be the perfect size and the right aircraft for the job. It would be great to see more Douglas era jets flying for as long as the DC-9 has!
 
User avatar
LAX772LR
Posts: 13579
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:06 pm

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:36 am

Probably too few of them (and they'll be quite high in cycles by the time that DL, and especially HA, are done with them), so probably unlikely that there'll be a conversion program.

But who knows.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
User avatar
bluefltspecial
Posts: 574
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:27 pm

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:51 am

If Delta holds on to them as long as I expect (and everyone else expects) it'll be a good 20+ years or so. It's an oddball aircraft, with one main operator, if any more come available 2nd hand, you can expect Delta to likely be interested as they have no problem with used aircraft, even just for parts.

It will more depend on things like reaching the number of cycles, length stage of each cycle the aircraft is used for. IE if the aircraft is used for short hops like ATL-CHO versus LGA-MIA you can extend the number of cycles used by operating fewer flights, therefore prolonging the aircraft life and usefulness.

It should also be kept in mind that the aircraft was designed/built in the late 90s, not the same was the 60s when they built the sturdy DC-9. While similar they are very different aircraft and I an only assume that things "aren't built like they used to" resulting in more wear and tear raising maintenance costs. That being said, while there is a fair amount of tech in the MD-95/B717, technology doubles every year or so, it may mean that those birds might be due for an upgrade of some sort in the next 10+ years to keep them in line with new birds like the C-Series coming up shortly.

Once they do become past their prime, I can only imagine that they will be well suited as freighters for medium sized cities offering lower burn rates and more capacity than a CRJ Freighter (odd to think of those, isn't it?) but smaller than a MD/80 or B757.

Long story short:
Will they be great freighters? Absolutely.
When will they be freighters? Not anytime soon.
Save a horse, ride a Fly-boy....
 
User avatar
flyingclrs727
Posts: 2714
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:44 am

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:50 am

Why? The only support for the 717 will be from Delta. There will be thousands of 737NG's that will become available for freight conversions after the 737MAX's start coming off the line and into airline service.
 
FrancisBegbie
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:22 am

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:12 am

The DC-9s went on to be popular freighters when airlines were flying tons of MD-8X's. That means that spare parts where plentiful and cheap. When Delta/HA is done flying their 717s, there's nobody left out there flying MD jets. Which means that the spare parts situation will be a nightmare.

So indeed, operators looking for narrow-body freighters will move over to the 737NG as they will be much cheaper to maintain (ignoring any other difference between 737/717, none of which would swing the momentum back to the 717 I think).
 
VSMUT
Posts: 5077
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:40 am

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:44 am

Northwest1988 wrote:
The DC-9 went on to become extremely popular with freight airlines like USA jet.


It was? I've never seen any. Wasn't USA Jet one of the only major customers? How many were converted?


Northwest1988 wrote:
but since the 717 is basically a modernized DC-9, do you think we will see them converted into freight dogs?


I doubt it. There were almost 1000 DC-9s built along with another 1200 of the very similar MD-80, but only about 150 or so 717s.

I guess part of the reason why the DC-9 was chosen for cargo conversion was that you could get tons of cheap DC-9s and spare parts, and even had manufacturer support due to the close relationship with the MD-80. The 717 on the other hand will have neither of those.

Another reason why I think it wouldn't be popular is because it would be bracketed by two very popular, common and cheap alternatives: the ATR 72 and 737-400. The ATR has less cargo, but significantly lower costs. The 737-400 can be brought and converted at very low cost, and you have no shortage of spare parts, rated pilots and trained mechanics.
 
User avatar
BawliBooch
Posts: 1539
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:24 am

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:47 am

flyingclrs727 wrote:
Why? The only support for the 717 will be from Delta. There will be thousands of 737NG's that will become available for freight conversions after the 737MAX's start coming off the line and into airline service.

Is the 737NG as suited for freight ops as compared to say the -200?
Mr.Kapoor's favorite poodle!
 
VolvoBus
Posts: 242
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:47 pm

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:54 am

LAX772LR wrote:
Probably too few of them (and they'll be quite high in cycles by the time that DL, and especially HA, are done with them), so probably unlikely that there'll be a conversion program.

But who knows.


I would go farther and say that Slim Chance has left town. As the engines seem to be best suited to HA's operations by a distance,they will fly them as long as possible,and are more likely,IMHO,to squeeze the last drops from the DL fleet than vice versa. The biggest stumbling block is certification. I can't see anybody,least of all Boeing,investing in a programme where there will be virtually no feedstock to spread the costs across.
 
wjcandee
Posts: 10045
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:29 am

VSMUT wrote:
Northwest1988 wrote:
The DC-9 went on to become extremely popular with freight airlines like USA jet.


It was? I've never seen any. Wasn't USA Jet one of the only major customers? How many were converted?


Some of the freighters weren't converted from pax a/c. They were offered in native F and CF from the factory.

Airborne Express flew 77 of them at various times. They were cargo-converted, but most (all?) did not have a cargo door, as Airborne did the conversion without cutting a cargo door and instead used a special "C" container that fit through the pax door.

Evergreen flew about 15 of them, with the cargo door.

Kalitta (KFS) had/has a few. Other carriers also fly/flew them carrying auto parts.

Astral has a couple in Africa. And on and on.

There were also at least a few combis or quick-change, I think. I do know that TWA had at least one DC9 in passenger service that still had the cargo door.
 
FX1816
Posts: 474
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 8:02 am

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:16 am

wjcandee wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
Northwest1988 wrote:
The DC-9 went on to become extremely popular with freight airlines like USA jet.


It was? I've never seen any. Wasn't USA Jet one of the only major customers? How many were converted?


Some of the freighters weren't converted from pax a/c. They were offered in native F and CF from the factory.

Airborne Express flew 77 of them at various times. They were cargo-converted, but most (all?) did not have a cargo door, as Airborne did the conversion without cutting a cargo door and instead used a special "C" container that fit through the pax door.

Evergreen flew about 15 of them, with the cargo door.

Kalitta (KFS) had/has a few. Other carriers also fly/flew them carrying auto parts.

Astral has a couple in Africa. And on and on.

I do know that a few of the ABX (Airborne) DC-9's did have a regular cargo door but if I remember correctly the doors were welded shut, something like that. It's been a while since I left DHL, 2008.



There were also at least a few combis or quick-change, I think. I do know that TWA had at least one DC9 in passenger service that still had the cargo door.
 
Waterbomber
Posts: 849
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:51 am

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:17 am

No.
 
VSMUT
Posts: 5077
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:40 am

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:23 am

BawliBooch wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
Why? The only support for the 717 will be from Delta. There will be thousands of 737NG's that will become available for freight conversions after the 737MAX's start coming off the line and into airline service.

Is the 737NG as suited for freight ops as compared to say the -200?


The -300 and -400 are wildly popular, and there aren't really any differences between those and the NGs that would affect a cargo conversion as far as I can see.
 
DiamondFlyer
Posts: 3466
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:50 pm

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:55 pm

wjcandee wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
Northwest1988 wrote:
The DC-9 went on to become extremely popular with freight airlines like USA jet.


It was? I've never seen any. Wasn't USA Jet one of the only major customers? How many were converted?


Some of the freighters weren't converted from pax a/c. They were offered in native F and CF from the factory.

Airborne Express flew 77 of them at various times. They were cargo-converted, but most (all?) did not have a cargo door, as Airborne did the conversion without cutting a cargo door and instead used a special "C" container that fit through the pax door.

Evergreen flew about 15 of them, with the cargo door.

Kalitta (KFS) had/has a few. Other carriers also fly/flew them carrying auto parts.

Astral has a couple in Africa. And on and on.

There were also at least a few combis or quick-change, I think. I do know that TWA had at least one DC9 in passenger service that still had the cargo door.


None were converted, as far as I know. Every DC9 freighter you see left Long Beach with the door on it.
From my cold, dead hands
 
wjcandee
Posts: 10045
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:22 pm

Yeah, when I say that the Airborne DC9s were "cargo converted", I don't mean a door added, I mean the interior was stripped and an appropriate floor installed, etc.

I did not know that all the ones with doors got them exclusively from the factory -- so that's very informative!
 
User avatar
coronado
Posts: 1278
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 1999 9:42 am

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:44 pm

On a tangentially related note, does anyone know what is the current status of Volotea's V7 converting their 717 fleet to A319 as announced last year? V7 was supposed to get at least 5 A319 in 2017. The speculation was that their current fleet of 17 of the 717 would be dispersed between HA and DL. I think Delta could round up their fleet from the current 91 to 100, HA pick up another 4 and the remaining 4 to be used as parts aircraft. I am sure HA and DL can work closely together on 717 maintenance for years to come as they already have a tight relationship on the 330 fleets, it being common to see a HA 330 at MSP.
The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
 
User avatar
tb727
Posts: 2262
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 1:40 pm

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:26 pm

wjcandee wrote:
Yeah, when I say that the Airborne DC9s were "cargo converted", I don't mean a door added, I mean the interior was stripped and an appropriate floor installed, etc.

I did not know that all the ones with doors got them exclusively from the factory -- so that's very informative!


I did not know that either, very interesting.

As a side note, ABX had DC-9's with cargo doors but they were pinned and not used. Always loaded them through the L1 door.

As far as the 717 being made into a freighter, I highly doubt it. As far as ad hoc charters, I think they are too much right now for a need of maybe a dozen in the market, maybe in 15-20 more years. They also can't take standard sized containers so they will be not very appealing to the major freight movers which seem to be after aircraft with more volume.
Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
 
User avatar
Spacepope
Posts: 5050
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:39 pm

DiamondFlyer wrote:
wjcandee wrote:
VSMUT wrote:

It was? I've never seen any. Wasn't USA Jet one of the only major customers? How many were converted?


Some of the freighters weren't converted from pax a/c. They were offered in native F and CF from the factory.

Airborne Express flew 77 of them at various times. They were cargo-converted, but most (all?) did not have a cargo door, as Airborne did the conversion without cutting a cargo door and instead used a special "C" container that fit through the pax door.

Evergreen flew about 15 of them, with the cargo door.

Kalitta (KFS) had/has a few. Other carriers also fly/flew them carrying auto parts.

Astral has a couple in Africa. And on and on.

There were also at least a few combis or quick-change, I think. I do know that TWA had at least one DC9 in passenger service that still had the cargo door.


None were converted, as far as I know. Every DC9 freighter you see left Long Beach with the door on it.

Indeed, no freight door was ever added to any DC9 except for the -80 series (how's that for being pedantic?). I think the ever knowledgeable wjcandee was referring to interior cargo-specific mods on the Airborne/DHL DC9s like barrier, cargo walls and deletion of pax equipment.

DC9s have the distinct disadvantage of fuselage width which makes them impractical for interlining with 757s, so they'll continue to have a very niche market. The 737-800 has no such problem, and AEI is in the process of converting the first one as we speak. Should roll out sometime this spring. In the meantime -400s are getting converted as fast as possible at MIA and DHN.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
User avatar
flyingclrs727
Posts: 2714
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:44 am

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:34 pm

VSMUT wrote:
BawliBooch wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
Why? The only support for the 717 will be from Delta. There will be thousands of 737NG's that will become available for freight conversions after the 737MAX's start coming off the line and into airline service.

Is the 737NG as suited for freight ops as compared to say the -200?


The -300 and -400 are wildly popular, and there aren't really any differences between those and the NGs that would affect a cargo conversion as far as I can see.


But 717's won't get to the age that airframe for cargo conversions usually occur til most of the -300 and -400 planes suitable for conversion have already been converted. The 717 fleets are contemporaries of the early 737NG's. I would expect Delta and Hawaiian to fly the wings off their 717's in passenger service. Hawaiian does not yet have any good options for an eventual replacement due to their unusual operations requirements. Delta will continue to fly them so long as they are economical for them to maintain and operate.

737's are ubiquitous around the world. There are pilots, technitians, and third party vendors that support it everywhere. The pool of MD-80 and 717 support will be dwindling while 737 support continues to grow.
 
MEMbrain
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:44 pm

Re: Will the Boeing 717 become a freighter?

Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:02 pm

wjcandee wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
Northwest1988 wrote:
The DC-9 went on to become extremely popular with freight airlines like USA jet.


It was? I've never seen any. Wasn't USA Jet one of the only major customers? How many were converted?


Some of the freighters weren't converted from pax a/c. They were offered in native F and CF from the factory.

Airborne Express flew 77 of them at various times. They were cargo-converted, but most (all?) did not have a cargo door, as Airborne did the conversion without cutting a cargo door and instead used a special "C" container that fit through the pax door.

Evergreen flew about 15 of them, with the cargo door.

Kalitta (KFS) had/has a few. Other carriers also fly/flew them carrying auto parts.

Astral has a couple in Africa. And on and on.

There were also at least a few combis or quick-change, I think. I do know that TWA had at least one DC9 in passenger service that still had the cargo door.


Do you what the "C" in "C" container stood for?

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos