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Why Was The MD 90 Family A Failure?  
User currently offlineGeorgiabill From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 577 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 9 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 7158 times:
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Outside of the obvious answer Boeing didn't want competition for the 737NG! Having flown on Delta's MD 90's and Reno's Air MD90's as a passenger I found it to be spacious,relatively quiet(engine noises). I am just curious why carriers like Austrian, American and Iberia chose either the Airbus A320 or 737NG to renew their fleets? Obviously the Airbus A320 family and 737NG family had planes to meet route needs. Why did the MD90 and MD95 fail? My guess was range(couldn't do coast to coast nonstop without restrictions)!

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26361 posts, RR: 76
Reply 1, posted (8 years 9 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 7138 times:

Quoting Georgiabill (Thread starter):
Why did the MD90 and MD95 fail? My guess was range(couldn't do coast to coast nonstop without restrictions)!

Remember about the MD95 that it turned into the 717-200 and never really got pushed by Boeing, even though it is the best all around aircraft for its mission. Once Embraer produced the E-Jets with near the capacity and true mainline strength, it sounded the 717's death knell. The MD90 really was a victim of the 737NG and also electrical problems that are quite expensive to fix when they go out.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineGeorgiabill From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 577 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 6827 times:
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With Hello apparently interested in acquiring more MD90's and Ghana International looking to acquire MD90's. I will ask the question again why didn't more loyal Douglas customers not order the MD90? Carriers like American, Finnair, Air Canada, Iberia etc? Apparently perhaps, because of lease rates or resale price it has found a market which eluded it when it entered the market. Just curious I thought I remember a thread that indicated SAS would like more MD90's. If this is correct why would they be leasing them out?

User currently offline767-332ER From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 2030 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 6784 times:

The fact that the companies that decided to go with the Airbus/Boeing competitors were also offered these aircraft as packages including other aircraft for fleet renewals, such as IB with A340's/A320's...AA with 777's/737's, etc...It's the way business is conducted nowadays...sell 'em to me in packages!
Regards



Twinjets...if one fails, work the other one twice as hard!!!
User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 6780 times:

The MD90 also was just not as capable as the 737NG and A320. That was a big part of the problem. It didn't feature US transcontinental range.

N


User currently offlineMarshalN From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2005, 1521 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6763 times:

Wasn't there also (correct) concerns that Boeing will pull the plug on the type and withdraw support? That's always an issue. Although I think Boeing made it sound like they withdrew support because of low sales... could it not have been the other way around?

User currently offlineMagyarorszag From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6688 times:

Quoting Georgiabill (Thread starter):
I am just curious why carriers like Austrian, American and Iberia chose either the Airbus A320 or 737NG to renew their fleets?

Too little, too late!! Simple as that! At least that's my opinion,

Cheers.


User currently offlineMidnightMike From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2892 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6650 times:

Quoting Georgiabill (Thread starter):
Outside of the obvious answer Boeing didn't want competition for the 737NG! Having flown on Delta's MD 90's and Reno's Air MD90's as a passenger I found it to be spacious,relatively quiet(engine noises). I am just curious why carriers like Austrian, American and Iberia chose either the Airbus A320 or 737NG to renew their fleets? Obviously the Airbus A320 family and 737NG family had planes to meet route needs. Why did the MD90 and MD95 fail? My guess was range(couldn't do coast to coast nonstop without restrictions)!

Many reasons why, a big one was when Delta cancelled their MD90 orders, at one time, Delta called the MD90 their aircraft of the future.....



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User currently offlineMagyarorszag From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6626 times:

Quoting MidnightMike (Reply 7):
at one time, Delta called the MD90 their aircraft of the future.....

Yes, it might have played against the aircraft as SQ MD-11s contract cancellation. And if I remember well, DL had many technical difficulties at the beginning!

[Edited 2005-10-30 23:23:29]

User currently onlineScorpio From Belgium, joined Oct 2001, 5015 posts, RR: 44
Reply 9, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6600 times:

Quoting MarshalN (Reply 5):
Although I think Boeing made it sound like they withdrew support because of low sales... could it not have been the other way around?

The MD-90 was already pretty much dead by the time Boeing took over MD.

Reasons for the failure? Several IMO:

-Not as capable as the A32X or 737NG. Essentially it was little more than an MD-80 with new engines. Compare that to the all-new A32X and the radically redesigned 737NG;
-It was a stand-alone player. The plane was available in only one size, where the competitors were offering real 'families' of almost identical planes in different sizes;
-It entered the market in a difficult time, i.e. the early nineties, in the midst of a serious downturn in the industry;
-Serious reliability problems in the early days didn't do it much good;
-(this one is just personal opinion) It just seemed McDonnell Douglas wasn't really even trying anymore by this time...


User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6549 times:

There were teething problems with not only the IAE V2500s, but also with the avionics as well. These issues early on caused DL, who was the main customer for the type (they had ordered 50+115 options originally, as they had planned to replace the 727-200s in their fleet with the MD-90) to cancel the rest of their order (this was also during the infamous restructuring during the Ron Allen years, so the delays in the MD-90 helped the company to decide to only take a small fleet of them).

User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4315 posts, RR: 28
Reply 11, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6498 times:

Quoting Magyarorszag (Reply 8):
And if I remember well, DL had many technical difficulties at the beginning!

I remember the first two flights I took on an MD-90 in 1998. Both were back-to-back trips on DL from DFW to SAN on consequtive Friday nights. The first Friday my flight got delayed for mechanical reasons (we were never told the specific issue) prior to boarding and they had to bring in another aircraft to fly us home. I ended up getting home some 6 hours late (not too bad in the big scheme of things).

The next Friday, same flight, only this time we were laready on board and seated and waiting for the main door to close when the captain came on and made an announcement. The co-pilot's windshield had shattered when they were doing their checks and turned on the windshield de-ice. When we disembarked we could peer into the cockpit and sure enough the co-pilot's entire windscreen was shattered into very tiny fragments (although it was still intact). Another aircraft was brought in and another 6 hours ensued before I made it home.

Needless to say, I was pretty leery the third time I was scheduled to make the flight but all went well after that and on all subsequent flights I've had on the MD-90.

It's a shame she's no longer in production. Those massive engines sure gave the bird a nice appearance.



I'm not a racist...I hate Biden, too.
User currently offlineSupa7e7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6459 times:

I flew in an MD-90 in China in 5/1999 and it was the quietest plane I can recall. Virtually silent climb...

Quoting N1120A (Reply 1):
Once Embraer produced the E-Jets with near the capacity and true mainline strength, it sounded the 717's death knell

If you are saying the 717 / M80 / DC9 lacks "mainline strength," that's an intriguing, erm, avant-garde sort of statement... What are some of your other thoughts about life? Listening intently....  Smile


User currently offlineJohn From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 1374 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 6213 times:

I've ridden on several DL MD-90s and all flights were very enjoyable and remarkably quiet, even in the rear cabin.

User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 6157 times:

A combination of factors. While Airbus offered a entirely new design and Boeing offered the 737NG which is essentially a new design MD offered up a stretched over MD-80 with new engines. The wing design was the same, all MD did was add slat seals and aerodynamic flap fairings. The avionics were basically what you would find in an MD-88.

One part that was entirely new was the electrical system. It was the electrical system that turned out to be the biggest problem on the MD-90. While the VSCF system on paper is a good system if you make it to sensitive it will latch on to every little fault. It was this unreliability that led Delta to cancel it's options and for other carriers to stay away from it. If MD had stuck with the traditional IDG they probably would have sold more.


User currently offlineD950 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 493 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 6108 times:

Quoting Georgiabill (Reply 2):
Just curious I thought I remember a thread that indicated SAS would like more MD90's. If this is correct why would they be leasing them out?

They were looking for more at one time, they just never pulled the trigger for whatever reasons. They talked to Boeing about the ex-Aruba, and Reno (which went to Lion) craft but to no avail. Those who fly the 90's today, to a customer, rave about the fuel numbers, and none are rushing to get rid of them, including DL. Anyone out there have numbers about the efficiency of the rear, as opposed to wing mount V2500's??



Resting on your laurels is a synonym for flirting with disaster
User currently offlineSupa7e7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 6095 times:

Quoting D950 (Reply 15):
Those who fly the 90's today, to a customer, rave about the fuel numbers

Interesting. Seems that fuel burn is related to fuselage width, all else equal. If the MD90 beats an A320 on fuel burn, the A320 may be too wide for optimal fuel efficiency. Maybe, below the 752, the ideal width is the MD-90. And below that, up to 110 seats, the EMB-190/195 may be optimal...


User currently offlineAirbusA6 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2011 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 6094 times:

Quoting Magyarorszag (Reply 6):
Too little, too late!! Simple as that! At least that's my opinion,

I'd second that, when Airbus were introducing a superb all new rival, the A320, the incremental improvements over the existing MD80 weren't good enough. I suppose if Airbus had launched instead a reengined stretched BAC111 it might have sold better  Wink



it's the bus to stansted (now renamed national express a4 to ruin my username)
User currently offlineHillbilliescot From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 16 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 5956 times:

Just prior to the Reno MD90 starting its runs from COS-SJC we were told over and over and over not to get the potable water and lav service panels confused. They looked exactly the same, and without a doubt one or two of our flights a week would be delayed because some new guy would fill the potable water with lav juice. So not only was it not ramp friendly for those mentally challenged ramp rats but I remember one of the maintance guys saying that a large majority of MD80 parts never fit right or didn't work at all on the MD90.

User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5171 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 5852 times:

A friend of mine worked at QQ until the AA buy-out. It turned out that the MD-90s were a lot or work to maintain, more than McD had inidicated.

On the other hand, QQ was very pleased with the fuel consumption and performance of the plane, in that they exceeded the claims of McD.


User currently offlineMidnightMike From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2892 posts, RR: 14
Reply 20, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 5816 times:

Quoting Ckfred (Reply 19):
A friend of mine worked at QQ until the AA buy-out. It turned out that the MD-90s were a lot or work to maintain, more than McD had inidicated.

On the other hand, QQ was very pleased with the fuel consumption and performance of the plane, in that they exceeded the claims of McD.

Once you get a handle on the MD90 MX issues, most airlines enjoyed it, Reno liked the MD90 & at American, they hated the MD90 at first, but towards the end American loved the MD90 and of course the fuel numbers.



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User currently offlinePHLBOS From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7510 posts, RR: 24
Reply 21, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 5809 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 1):
Once Embraer produced the E-Jets with near the capacity and true mainline strength, it sounded the 717's death knell.

Actually, it was several carriers opting for a combination of RJs and 737/A319 types to do the missions that were originally handled w/older DC-9s, 732s & F100s; a move that took place years before the first EMB-170 rolled out.

As I stated before, the beginning of the end of the 717 came when AA returned TW's 717s and cancelled the remaining order. For a while, AA decided to stick with their F100s but then later reassigned F100 routes to either Eagle/Connection ERJs or mainline MD-80s. Anyway, no other airline opted for a large enough order to sustain long-term production of the line. Whether NW was offered the type from Boeing is unknown; but in light of their recent Chapter 11 filing, one now knows why they didn't make any 717 orders.

In a nutshell, the 717 (MD-95) was a failure in terms of sales; not performance. In comparison, the MD-90 had, from what I gather, some mechanical & performance issues which contributed to their slow sales.

When Boeing took over McDD, everyone knew that production of the MD-80s, MD-90s, & MD-11s were eventually going to be discontinued. The wild card was the 717 (MD-95). Had FL's & TW's orders not existed; the 717 would've never seen production following the Boeing merger.

Keep in mind, that if there wasn't any commonality between the A318 and 736 and their larger bretheren; they would've been gone as well. AA outright killed TW's A318 order at the time of the AA/TW merger.



"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
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