The range hampered sales and the LR was too late to market. Hence Midwest Airlines Kansas City hub. It needed about 300 more miles range. It was out there on paper, but alas it was too late.
Need a 717 today? Pick up some A220's.
I think the last few went out the door for like $25 million a piece which is about what the CRJ-700 was selling for at the time.
I had a Delta pilot claim to me one time that Delta was paying more for CRJ's than what Boeing offered them 717s for. I asked him why they wouldn't jump all over that deal. "Because they don't want US to fly them," he said with a sneer. Of course, he didn't mention that they probably wanted double the compensation that was reasonable for a 110 seat jet.
Ah, range. The topic that never goes away on a-net. IIRC, the 717 could easily do DTW-IAH on a thunderstorm day with a full load and a decent alternate, compared to the DC9 which was on fumes and probably passenger constrained. The 717 had plenty enough range to serve the dense markets east of the Mississippi, feeding the hubs (ATL, DTW).
DL wasn't even in the market for 717's while in production. Ever. YX and FL got them for $25m a copy, and no, it didn't have the range needed which hampered sales.
No, ValuJet’s 10K filings indicate it paid $1B for 50 MD-95, or $20M per aircraft. However, the deal was contingent on ValuJet acquiring outside financing to cover the the cost - something they were unable to do after the crash of 592 destroyed its finances. Ultimately, Boeing was desperate enough that it agreed to a 20-year operating lease.
Boeing tried multiple times to pitch the aircraft to NW as a DC-9 replacement — including an alleged deal in which NW could receive new builds for $20M, and extremely favorable rates on the ex-TW aircraft. Reports indicate that Boeing was willing to stretch the 717 for NW, the lack of which was the primary reason - not the range - AirTran switched the to 73G. FL said they got an additional 20 seats with the 73G for the same trip price as a 717. Similar reasoning lead to NW acquiring the 319 as its primary DC-9 replacement, although during its bankruptcy NW dumped a fairly large number of 319 - some brand new, the rest just a few years old - and committed to the DC-9. A few years later, NW was expected to announce an order for the E90/E95 as its direct DC-9 replacement, but ultimately merged with DL before the order was placed.
One thing to add… during a NW melt down in the early 2000s, the WSJ ran an article claiming the DC-9 were maintenance nightmares, subject to frequent breaks downs, weight and balance issues, etc. The article claimed that the only reason they had a favorable dispatch rate (best in fleet) was because flying was largely concentrated around DTW and MSP, and NW had a lot of operational spares at any given time.