By the early 1990s, the three leading airframe manufacturers became aware of the demand for a smallerjet airliner. In particular, over the next two decades there is a market requirement for approximately 2,600 aircraft having a nominal seating capacity for 100 passengers.
To meet these requirements Boeing announced its new generation 737-600; Airbus the A319 and McDonnell Douglas the MD-95, all smaller derivatives of highly successful medium-haul airliners. The B737-600 was given the build go-ahead in March 1995, with entry into service scheduled for mid-1998 and the MD-95 was shown the green light six months later in October 1995. At that stage the A319 was ahead of the field, the lead aircraft configured in 116-seat layout being readied for delivery to Swissair in April 1996.
Launched in October 1995, by the end of 1999, the first of a 100 MD-95 contract (50 firm, plus 50 options) to AirTran Airlines (formerly ValueJet) was signed. With the merger of Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, commercial pressure resulted in the B717. The B717-200 has changed little from the MeDomell Douglas concept for the MD-95. Similar in size to the DC-9-30, with a wingspan of 28.45m (93ft 3.5in) and overall length of 37.8m (124ft 0in).
The BMW Rolls-Royce BR715 turbofan engine was developed specifically for it. First flew on 2 September 1998 and certified on 1 September 1999.
The Boeing 717-200 received simultaneous joint certification from the US FAA and European JAA on 1 September 1999. Five teat aircraft flew over 2000 hrs in more than 1900 flights.
On September 23, 1999, the first production 717-200 (N717XD, to be re-registered N949AT) was handed over to launch customer AirTran Airways at Long Beach, California.
Engines: Two BMW Rolls-Royce BR715 turbofans, 82.2kN (18,500 lb) take-off thrust with options available up to 93.4kN (21,000 lb).
Total fuel capacity 13,892 litres (3,056 Imp gal).
Max cruising speed, 0.76 Mach; 438kts (811 km/h).
FAA take-off field length, (MTOW, SL, Temp = 30 degC) 1,950m (6,400ft).
FAA landing field length, (MLW, SL) 1,445m (4,740ft),
Range (domestic reserves, 106 passengers and baggage), 2,867km (1,547nm
Weights: Space limited payload, 12,220kg (26,940 lb).
Design gross maximum ramp weight, 52,163kg (115,000 lb).
Maximum take-off weight, 51,710kg (114,000 lb).
Maximum landing weight, 46,266kg (102,000 lb).
Maximum zero fuel weight, 43,545kg (96,000 lb).
Operator's empty weight, 30,785kg (67,870 lb).
Wingspan, 28.45m (93ft 43/4in).
Wing area, 305 sq.m (1,000.7 sq.ft).
Length, 37.81 m (1 24ft 0in).
Height, 8.92m (29ft 1 in).
Cargo hold, 26.5 sq.m(935 sq.ft).
Accommodation: Two crew and up to a maximum of 106 passengers in typical two class configuration.
Total cargo volume: 26.33 cu.m (930 cu.ft).