AirTran Airways flying its final revenue flight tonight when AirTran flight number 1 (Southwest flight number 5001) from Atlanta takes off at 10:25pm, arriving in Tampa at 11:55pm. It retraces the route of the airline’s first flight – when it was known as ValuJet – from Atlanta to Tampa.
- Often referred to as “the Little A” – because of its logo – the lower-case, italicized Times New Roman ‘a’.
- ValuJet, which merged with AirTran in 1997, allowed ValuJet to rebrand its operations under the AirTran name. ValuJet Flight 592, a DC-9 flying from Miami to Atlanta, crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 persons on board on May 11, 1996.
- AirTran was the launch customer for the Boeing 717 in September 1999, and eventually became largest operator of the aircraft, operating 88 of 156 717s produced prior to production ending in 2006.
- AirTran had 52 Boeing 737 aircraft, with the final AirTran flight the 737 operated on November 30, 2014.
It’s always bittersweet to see an airline cease to exist, however Southwest announced its purchase of AirTran on September 27, 2010 – four long years ago. It seems like its long overdue to wish AirTran a good flight, and a good night.