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Why Did The MD-87 And MD-90 Fail?  
User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6574 posts, RR: 2
Posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 8516 times:

Can anyone give the reasons why the MD-87 and MD-90 failed? I would guess the MD-87 failed because of its weight, based on the fact that it is a shortened MD-80. But what about the MD-90? Delta originally wanted the MD-90 to replace the 727, but later ordered the 737-800 instead.


The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineHS748 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 8476 times:

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Thread starter):
Can anyone give the reasons why the MD-87 and MD-90 failed?

What do you mean by 'failed'?


User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6574 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 8451 times:

Quoting HS748 (Reply 1):
What do you mean by 'failed'?

Poor sales, DUH



The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently offlineFlagshipAZ From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3419 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 8438 times:

They were not entirely failures. 75 MD-87s and 117 MD-90s were built. Alot of other aircraft have been built in far fewer numbers & they were reasonably sucessful, Concorde for one example, so was the 747SP. The MD-87 & MD-90 were sold to fill a niche, that's all. You just have to look at the overall picture. Regards.


"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
User currently offlineHS748 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 8391 times:

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 2):
Poor sales, DUH

Don't be such a patronising prick. It was a courteously put question that should have resulted in a courteous reply.


User currently offlineTarantine From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 210 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 8381 times:

Mainly the reason that the MD-90 including the MD-95 (717)"failed" was because Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas in 1997 and did not want it to compete with the 737 line.

User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 8351 times:

Quoting FlagshipAZ (Reply 3):
The MD-87 & MD-90 were sold to fill a niche, that's all.

The MD-90 was not a niche aircraft. It was MD's future in the narrowbody space along with the MD-95.

The problem was Boeing, aside from horrible problems that plagued the MD-90. That, and it wasn't much of a redesign its wing was practically the same and it didn't feature the same transcontinental range as the A320 and much later the 737NG.

The MD90 was never really going to be much of a family, either. The MD95 was smaller, but not as capable (although that would have been fine for the market), and I'm not sure an A321 or 737-900 sized MD90 was a possibility. I also don't believe an A319 or 737-700 sized MD-90 was ever in the works.

N


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26601 posts, RR: 75
Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 8328 times:

Quoting Gigneil (Reply 6):
The MD95 was smaller, but not as capable (although that would have been fine for the market), and I'm not sure an A321 or 737-900 sized MD90 was a possibility. I also don't believe an A319 or 737-700 sized MD-90 was ever in the works.

The 717-300 was a very workable design and would have featured ATL-LAX range along with 73G/A319 capacity, so that would have helped fill out the MD90/95 range quite well.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6574 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 8285 times:

I believe that MD did have a plan to make a version of the MD-90 to replace the MD-80. I have never heard anything about an MD-87/737-700/A319 sized MD-90.


The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26601 posts, RR: 75
Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8255 times:

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 8):
I believe that MD did have a plan to make a version of the MD-90 to replace the MD-80.

The MD-90 itself was a replacement for the MD-80



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineHorus From Egypt, joined Feb 2004, 5230 posts, RR: 59
Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8231 times:

Egypt's AMC Airline operated 5 MD-90s, but the aircraft were returned post-9/11 due to the high lease rates of the aircraft. I was told from a reliable source the airline were happy to see the back of the aircraft as they continuously had techincal problems. In addition the pilots' had quite a bit to say when it came to the aircraft's handling.

Horus



EGYPT: A 7,000 Year Old Civilisation
User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8227 times:

The reason that the MD-87 wasn't popular was the same reason the 717 met the same fate: simply too small.

The economics of both aircraft were limited. Few operators used the MD-87 when you could fly the MD-80 "long" types for just pennies more. In short, you gained about 14% more capacity for about 6% higher fuel burn.

The most airlines that ordered the MD-87 (like AM) used it because they wanted the 'hot and high' performance that would weight limit the larger airplane.

The MD-90 had some issues with the VCSF power system early on. The economics of the aircraft also suffered, and in the end, simply weren't all that great to make a compelling story. In truth, while some things were modernized, the MD-90 wing was still the same basic airfoil from the 1960's, and it was outstripped by more modern development.

Steve


User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8201 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 7):
The 717-300 was a very workable design and would have featured ATL-LAX range along with 73G/A319 capacity, so that would have helped fill out the MD90/95 range quite well.

Had the 713 had that range, FL would have had Boeing build it for them. The 713 was only going to have a marginal increase in range, but not enough to do ATL-West Coast. Had MDD stayed independent, the MD-95-50 and the MD-95-30ER would have had the legs to do such a flight. There was no way Boeing would have built the 713, as it really competed with the 737NG in terms of capacity.


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26601 posts, RR: 75
Reply 13, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8167 times:

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 12):
Had the 713 had that range, FL would have had Boeing build it for them.



Quoting Srbmod (Reply 12):
There was no way Boeing would have built the 713, as it really competed with the 737NG in terms of capacity.

That is the point. The 713 as proposed would have had the range for FL, but Boeing had no intention of taking a bite into the 73G's sales, as the 713's lighter airframe and BR715 engines would have likely beaten the 73G (and A319 for that matter) on costs handily. This is likely one reason that the FL order was heavily competed for as opposed to being a shoe-in for Boeing.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 14, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8166 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 7):
The 717-300 was a very workable design and would have featured ATL-LAX range along with 73G/A319 capacity, so that would have helped fill out the MD90/95 range quite well.

It never turned out that way... but lets say it had, and independently. ATL-LAX range is not competitive with the 3000+ nm range of the A319 and the 73G.

N


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26601 posts, RR: 75
Reply 15, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8158 times:

Quoting Gigneil (Reply 14):
ATL-LAX range is not competitive with the 3000+ nm range of the A319 and the 73G.

Of course not, but it would have suited FL and other carriers just fine. I mean, at the time, LH was also looking at it as part of a large Star Alliance joint order.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineYyz717 From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 16307 posts, RR: 56
Reply 16, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8153 times:

Quoting FlagshipAZ (Reply 3):
They were not entirely failures. 75 MD-87s and 117 MD-90s were built. Alot of other aircraft have been built in far fewer numbers & they were reasonably sucessful, Concorde for one example, so was the 747SP. The MD-87 & MD-90 were sold to fill a niche, that's all. You just have to look at the overall picture. Regards.

Compared to their initial sales targets, and the rip roaring success of the equivalent offerings in the 737 & 320 lines, they were actually failures.

As mentioned, the M87 was too heavy. Perhaps MDD should have developed an M87-lite as a true DC-9-30 replacement. The M87 was also a few years late to the market after the 733 which did not help.

The poor range of the M90 actually turned it into a niche aircraft (high cap, short haul) which limited its potential.

Quoting Gigneil (Reply 6):
I also don't believe an A319 or 737-700 sized MD-90 was ever in the works.

Neil, I do remember MDD showing models of a shrunken MD-90 (about the size of the DC-9-40) along side the larger M90. This was before the separate development of the MD-95.



Panam, TWA, Ansett, Eastern.......AC next? Might be good for Canada.
User currently offlineFlaps From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 1286 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8106 times:

McDonnell's main reason for aquiring Douglas was its military product line. McDonnell never had a lot of enthusiasm for the commercial market and they just kind of let it play out by concentrating on derivitives of existing programs. They never really put much R&D in the commercial line. Another reason for the MD90's low sales was price. MDD had run into financial difficulties and made the decision not to get into a bidding war vs Boeing and Airbus. Had they done more discounting they would have won a few more large campaigns. Whether or not that would have ultimately made a difference is a moot point.

The MD87 was a niche design to begin with. The MD90 had good potential if it were fully developed but with MDD's focus elsewhere it came off kind of half baked. There financial issues that complicated the situation and of course, the sale to Boeing was the killer. It really is a shame because I love the MD80/90 line. From a passenger perspective I think it is vastly superior to the 737 series, the only model of which I like is the 200.


User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6574 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8080 times:

Quoting Yyz717 (Reply 16):
Perhaps MDD should have developed an M87-lite as a true DC-9-30 replacement. The M87

Do you mean DC-9-50? The MD-87 and 737-300 are sized like the DC-9 50.



The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently offlineYyz717 From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 16307 posts, RR: 56
Reply 19, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8070 times:

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 18):
Do you mean DC-9-50? The MD-87 and 737-300 are sized like the DC-9 50.

The DC-9-30 replacement market was far larger, the DC-9-30 fleet was much older than the -50 fleet when the M87 was introduced. Anyway, an M87-lite would have been a good DC-9-30/40 and -50 and replacement.



Panam, TWA, Ansett, Eastern.......AC next? Might be good for Canada.
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 20, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 6940 times:

The development of Douglas aircraft post merger/absorbsion by McDonnell was stunted as mentioned earlier but I don't think it was from a lack of serious interest by the powers that be.

Douglas began its slide when it focused too much on the DC-7 rather than pushing forward with jet transports as quickly as they could have. The DC-8 was a superior aircraft to the original Dash 80 design, but Douglas was preoccupied with other airplanes and did not capitalize on their market dominance, rather resting on it.

Despite producing incredibly fine products (i.e. DC-8/9/10) they were forever playing catchup, particularly with the jumbos and although their DC-9 series was a fantastic success, it was their last hurrah in terms of dominating a marketplace. In the competition between airlines enough of their marketshare in the large aircraft market was taken up by Lockheed (not enough to make Lockheed want to continue with commercial aircraft) and Airbus with the A300 that they could not find ways to capitalize and get ahead of the powercurve with new airplanes. By the time they got to the DC-10 replacement they came up with a derivative using one too many engines and not performing to specs (which is a killer among customers who have been very loyal and took your word for it that the airplane would do certain things).

When they decided that they could not afford to bet the company on an all new MD-11, or even the MD-12 they basically surrendered the commercial segment to Boeing and Airbus. Their inability to design a new replacement for the DC-9, instead following the failed derivative approach with the MD-90 series, that again failed to impress longterm and very loyal customers (Delta and American in particular). The MD95/B717 was a success in a very small niche and without stablemates that would make an airline want to create a family. With one exception this very fine airplane saw no large purchase customers, and is unfortunately going to be the last Long Beach produced commercial airplane and descendant of Don Douglas to be sold.

It's disappointing, but that's the way it happened. What's kind of funny is that Boeing came in and destroyed the tooling for MD-11s right before the cargo demand for that airplane exploded and they probably could have sold another 100 or so of that airplane to cargo lines......of course at the cost of 777 and 744 freighters so the business decision is logical, but again disappointing.

Boeing won by taking the huge risks, Airbus won by eliminating risks, Douglas lost by trying to minimize risks in an open market that rewards advancement and success.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineGilesdavies From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 3037 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6343 times:

What about the MD-88? - Was this aircraft popular and successful?

I flew this type with Onur Air back in 2000, EMA-DLM. This was a route of about 1800 miles and 4.5hrs flying time - I would have thought this was pushing the aircrafts range.

In that time you have seen Onur Air dispose of their newer A320's and A321's and have continued to keep the MD-88's so assume they must be pretty pleased with them.


User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6574 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6326 times:

Quoting Gilesdavies (Reply 21):
What about the MD-88? - Was this aircraft popular and successful?

I am not sure about that one. The MD-88 is merely an updated version of the MD-82.



The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently offlineRick From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 129 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 5450 times:

The MD88 was designed and built specifically for Delta Airlines eventhough a few other Airlines Ordered it.

User currently offlineMidnightMike From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2892 posts, RR: 14
Reply 24, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 5427 times:

Quoting Horus (Reply 10):
Egypt's AMC Airline operated 5 MD-90s, but the aircraft were returned post-9/11 due to the high lease rates of the aircraft. I was told from a reliable source the airline were happy to see the back of the aircraft as they continuously had techincal problems. In addition the pilots' had quite a bit to say when it came to the aircraft's handling.


2 of the AMC's that I know about were confiscated for lack of payment, in fact I know the pilots that had to go get the aircraft. The aircraft were in terrible condition and had over 50 DMI's (Delayed MX Items), amazing what happens when you do not take care of the airplanes, lack of MX, & eventually the airplanes will break.....

As far as high lease rates, bad credits, lack of payments, you are going to have high payments....



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25 MidnightMike : I like the way you summed that up, nicely done. Not sure that I agree with you as to number of aircraft though.
26 RAFVC10 : I must remember that the MD87 and MD88 aircrafts are and were the battle horses in short haul routes of Iberia and its affiliate in the 90's Aviaco. S
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