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Updated June 27, 2022

  • Joe Breitfeller

Delta Air Lines to Retire McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and MD-90 Fleets by June 2020

Delta Air Lines announced on Thursday that they will accelerate the planned retirement of their McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and MD-90 fleets by the end of June. Delta previously planned to retire the MD-88 fleet by the end of 2020.

Delta McDonnell Douglas MD-88 - Courtesy Delta Air Lines

Today, Delta Air Lines announced that they will accelerate the retirement of their workhorse McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and MD-90 fleets by the end of June. Delta had planned to retire their MD-88 fleet by year’s end, but the storied aircraft type has become the latest casualty of the global COVID-19 pandemic as airlines reduce capacity. Delta has already cut their active fleet in half by grounding over 600 mainline and regional aircraft. As of February 2020, Delta was operating 47 MD-88s and 29 MD-90s but continuing to operate older and less fuel-efficient aircraft no longer makes sense. Moving forward, Delta will continue to evaluate fleet optimization, modernization and simplification.

McDonnell Douglas MD-80 - Courtesy Boeing

As detailed by Boeing, the McDonnell Douglas MD-80/90 Family of aircraft were built on the same assembly line in Long Beach California. Originally conceived as a stretched variant of the Douglas DC-9, the MD-80 made its maiden flight as the DC-9 Super 80. The MD-80 was certified by the FAA in August 1980 and entered commercial service in November 1980. Between 1980 and 1999 1,191 MD-80 derivatives (MD-81, 82, 83,87, 88) were delivered and the next generation MD-90, an advanced mid-sized, medium-range aircraft, entered service in April 1995.

McDonnell Douglas MD-90 - Courtesy Boeing

The MD-90 had an advanced flight deck with an electronic flight instrument system, full flight management system (FMS), a state-of-the-art inertial reference system and LED ‘dot-matrix’ displays for engine and system monitoring. Ultimately two MD-90 versions entered production and 116 of the type were delivered between 1995 and 2000. McDonnell Douglas also launched the MD-95 in 1995 which was meant as a replacement for the company’s DC-9-30. When the company merged with Boeing in 1997, the aircraft was renamed the Boeing 717 and production began in 1998. Ultimately, 156 Boeing 717s were produced, with the final two aircraft delivered on May 23, 2006.

Technical Specifications McDonnell Douglas MD-80/90 - Courtesy Boeing

Source(s): Delta Air Lines, Boeing