Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Why Doesn't Delta Like The MD-90  
User currently offlineBedge88 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3996 times:


I would just like to know,

When the MD-90 came out Delta was the main customer that was asking for all the different improvements. But when they recieved it they were originally going to take a large number of md-90's.
But they ended up with about 16 aircraft.

Does anybody know why this happened


14 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineDelta777-XXX From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1017 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3900 times:

The md-90 is almost as bad as the md-11. Delta doesn't like either one of them.

I think they are wonderful airplanes... .

but, they are not as good as McDonnell Douglas made them out to be. Delta will retire them in the next 10-15 years, if not sooner.

User currently offlineExusair From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 684 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3880 times:

These aircraft were originally going to replace the 727's, Delta had an order for over 100 of the MD-90 type. The inital aircraft brought into the fleet performed so miserably that cancellations were a frequent occurence. The were many problems with the software that interacted with the engine controls. It was built and designed on the cheap. There is extensive wear and tear on the aircraft in the fleet and they are only a few years old, specifically with the aircraft systems. It is a junky plane and it very well cost McDonnell it's future.

User currently offlineDutchjet From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 7864 posts, RR: 56
Reply 3, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3857 times:

The timing of the MD-90 was also difficult; the takeover of MD by Boeing was already in the works and the 737NG models were well into development when the MD90s first became availible. I believe that DL swapped the balance of its MD90 orders for B737-800 aircraft since it was clear that the new versions of the 737 would be the aircraft to survive the merger. As DL is a very big Boeing customer, I am sure that Boeing influenced DL's decision and they settled on the 737-800 fleet to replace the 727-200s. It is likely that the 15 or 16 MD-90s in DL's fleet will be traded back to Boeing at some point so that DL can cut costs - its expensive for an airline such as DL to keep such a limited number of MD-90s when either 737-800s or MD-88s can fly the route that the MD-90s are operating.

User currently offlinePakistania From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3824 times:

Saudi Arabian Airlines are also not satisfied with theirs I believe, why?

PIA Great people to fly with 

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Robert Flinzner

User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8530 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3781 times:

MD-88s don't have the range to fly the MD-90's routes, and I don't believe the 737-800s have the same hot and high capabilities that the MD-90s do which is valuable out west.

User currently offlineCAETravlr From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 917 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3757 times:

I know that the MD series aircraft will be around for a while in Delta's fleet, but I do look forward to the day when I leave CAE, not on an MD88, but a 737NG, and when landing in ATL, see Boeing aircraft in DL colors as far as the eye can see. The MD88s are not particularly bad to fly on, I just have never been a fan of their external appearance, I love watching the Boeing aircraft. It would make sense for them to phase out the MD90s fairly soon, since it is probably costly to maintain parts and crew for such a small number of aircraft in their fleet. Just my opinion.

A woman drove me to drink and I didn't have the decency to thank her. - W.C. Fields
User currently offlineACVITALE From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 922 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3744 times:

One reason stands out for the problems with the MD90s it is the same thing with the F100s


It stinks with the MD90s the APUs and FADECs have numerous problems. The plane is unreliable and maint. is a nightmare.

The F100 suffers from many similar problems maint. is expensive and frequent. With the F100 the problems are APUs Cockpit Electronics and displays and electrical issues.


User currently offlineKALB From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 573 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3735 times:

It would be interesting to have FO Doug Taylor's response to this post, since flies both the 88 and the 90. He indicates on his JetCareers web site that the 90 is a very fine airplane.

User currently offlineDelta737 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 517 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3728 times:


How did you know that I was lurking this thread?  

Actually all of us boys in DFW, where we fly both the -88's and 90's LOVE the MD-90. In a lot of ways, it makes the -88 seem like a C-150.

It's actually a much better plane than the -88 in many many ways, especially the FADEC system and APU. Sorry Acvitale, I didn't mean to blatantly disagree but the -90 is a fantastic airplane.

The -90 got a lot of things right that MD didn't inititally get right on the -88 in terms of automation, engines and the IFE systems but there were two problems in the design of the MD-90.

1. Delta - Management wanted a plane that was far superior to the -88 but similar enough to be integrated within the -88 fleet. Talk about the adage of trying to stuff 10 lbs of sand into a 5 lbs bag. Plus, we tried to treat the MD-88 as a DC-90-30 with EFIS both training-wise and maintenance-wise which didn't (and doesn't) work. With the -90, they treated it just like an EFIS DC-9-30 with an IAE V2500 engine retrofit. Baaaaad.

2. McDonnell Douglas - So eager to build a new airplane with no resources to correct the primary thing wrong with the MD-88. *the wing*. Often we have to fly the -90 at 255 KIAS below 10,000 feet because of the exteme lengths of the fuselage with a basic DC-9 wing. Rumor has it that the wing is straight off of a DC-9 (not the -10 of course) and MD didn't have the resources to redesign the wing to properly support the -88 and especially the larger -90.

There's my $0.02!

Doug Taylor

User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8530 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3704 times:

That's the thing that really strikes me about the MD-80/MD-90: the wing looks like it's straight from the Sixties, which it is! Even the MD-11 had an upgraded wing, not a stretched DC-10 wing bolted on. It just doesn't look like it is very efficient. The 737NG does have a better wing, I can concede that much. Then again, so does the 717 (due to Boeing's financial resources).

User currently offlineACVITALE From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 922 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3659 times:

While I may agree that when it works the MD90 is a fantastic plane my issues with it are operational reliability numbers in the mid 90 percentile. While aircraft like the MD81/82/83/87/88 average in the 98-99 percentile. Biggest write ups on the 90s are the APU and the FADEC. Hence although when working they are great, They are also often the cause for problems that result in flight cancellations.

The MD90 is looked at from two different views within an airline. 1. Management - Generally looking at costs 2. Pilots - Generally looking at performance. Of course there is always the third group the passengers but, anyone in airline management will tell you the ugly truth if they thought they could get away with flying sardine cans and make money then damn be the passengers and let's make some cash. (not necessarily a bad thing)

My issue is clarified with a few examples...

1. Look at the ATR-42/72 a plane which is underpowered and not really loved by pilots... But, CASM is very low hence it is popular.

2. How about the L1011, Pilots loved it. Costs too much to continue to operate and maintain...

I know could have had better examples but, What can I say early AM here..

Of course there are the F100s the plane everyone loves to hate.

BTW The MD90 wing is different from the DC-9s it is however very similar to the MD82/83 wing...

Yes it has limitations to avoid coffin corner as was apptly demonstrated by the Spirit Pilot in the MD80 within the last 6 month who kept stalling the plane at FL280 or something close.


User currently offlineWoodsboy From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 1042 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (15 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 3627 times:

Delta plans to retire the MD-90 fleet in the next 6-9 years so they have a few years left. They took delivery of the -90s up to 1998, even after the Boeing MD takeover. I suspect that there was no incintive to buy more since Boeing wished to cancel the entire -90 program ASAP so that the 737NGs would have no competition. I have not heard of the MD-90 being a poor performer in the DL fleet.

The MD-11 suffered the same fate although the Delta annual report states that only the leased MD-11s will be phased out from 2006-09 and the owned ones will remain in the fleet. That will give the MD-11s up to 15 years before they are all gone, maybe more.

Anyone who says that Delta isnt happy with the performance of the needs to look and see that their MD-11s have a fantastic range equal to that of the 777-200 as well as more underfloor cargo capacity and....there are more of them!

User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8530 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (15 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3611 times:

Subsidizing pax operations with cargo generates substantial revenue. If the MD-11 can carry more belly cargo than the 777 can (and while I have no figures, just based on looks I bet it can), it'll remain a valuable aircraft in Delta's fleet.

User currently offlineWoodsboy From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 1042 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (15 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3602 times:

The MD-11 has the most belly cargo capacity of any widebody, even a 747. The way the fuselage of the 747 slopes up toward the tail makes the belly unable to fit cargo containers any farther back then just aft of the trailing edge of the wing. The aft compartments are just for bulk cargo, mail and crew bags. This is partly why Lufthansa chose the MD-11 in addition to its economical operating costs, range and more reasonable capacity for the routes on which it will fly.

It certainly makes sense to augment passenger revenue with cargo revenue, often thats what pays the bills since cargo doesnt travel on frequent flyer tickets.

Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Why Did Delta Back Out Of The MD-90? posted Thu Dec 2 1999 03:54:55 by Matt D
Why Was The MD 90 Family A Failure? posted Mon Oct 24 2005 02:47:18 by Georgiabill
Why Did MD Choose The RR Engines For The MD-90? posted Tue Jul 5 2005 17:14:18 by Brucek
Why Do People Like The MD-11 So Much? posted Mon Oct 29 2001 05:19:17 by JALBOY
Why Doesn't NZ Re-enter The SYD-LAX Market? posted Sun Nov 12 2006 05:06:12 by ZKNBX
DL And The MD-90 To GEG posted Mon Jul 10 2006 10:42:43 by ASMD11
Delta And The MD-11 posted Mon Jan 23 2006 05:13:54 by TwoLz2Rn
Where Have The MD-90's Gone? posted Thu Nov 17 2005 01:58:38 by NWA1978
Iran And The MD-90, Any News? posted Mon Apr 11 2005 00:03:22 by 717fan
Besides DL, Any US Carriers Operate The MD-90? posted Tue Mar 16 2004 14:20:16 by BCAInfoSys