EVENDALE, Ohio -- AirTran Airways (NYSE: AAI) has signed a 15-year, $600 million agreement with GE Engine Services (GEES) to maintain the CFM56-7 engines powering the airline's fleet of Boeing 737-700/-800 aircraft. In July, the airline ordered 50 firm 737s that are scheduled to begin delivery in June 2004. 

Under terms of the Maintenance Cost Per Hoursm (MCPHsm) agreement, GEES will use its maintenance network, engineering resources, and program management expertise to maintain AirTran Airway's fleet of CFM56-7 engines based on a flat rate per engine flight hour. This program will enable the airline to forecast its engine operating costs with greater accuracy. 

AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. is based in Orlando, Florida. The airline operates nearly 500 flights daily to 45 destinations across the country, including nearly 200 daily flights from its hub at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport. The airline began flying in 1993 and has grown into one of the largest low-fare carriers in the United States. The new 737s will provide greater range and seating capacity than its current fleet and are part of an aggressive expansion and renewal plan. In addition to the 50 firm aircraft ordered in July, AirTran Airways also took options on 50 more 737s. 

CFM56-7 maintenance work will be conducted at GE's Strother Field facility near Arkansas City, Kansas, USA. 

GEES is a subsidiary of GE Aircraft Engines, a division of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). GEES provides comprehensive maintenance support for GE and non-GE jet engines in service throughout the world. Visit GEAE online at http://www.geae.com.