On January 14, 2005, Boeing announced plans to end production of the 717 jetliner. Obviously, this isn’t new news, but browsing through the Boeing Web site, I was rather surprised to discover that not only was there an aircraft I had never heard of, but that it was being canceled less than six years after first delivery. The aircraft doesn’t appear to have been a flop; the sales numbers I saw looked fairly healthy.
After reading a bit more about the history of the 717, I think I understand better. The 717 is really the McDonnell-Douglas MD-95, the successor to the DC-9/MD-80/MD-90. The 717 was designed and built in former Douglas facilities. I guess the aircraft was far enough along in its development prior to the 1997 merger—the first order was placed in 1995—that Boeing kept it around for a while before deciding to discontinue it with the other McDonnell-Douglas products.
I do find it amusing that the same Web page declaring that Boeing is concluding 717 production declares it “the world’s best jetliner specifically designed for the short-haul, high frequency 100-passenger airline market.”