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Why Did Boeing Kill The MD90?  
User currently offlineB767 From Norway, joined Feb 2008, 127 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 14576 times:

Following the Boeing MD merger,Boeing announced the end of Md80,90 production.The MD80 was perhaps a dated product with the jt8d-200 engines,but not so for the MD90.I still regard it as a modern aircraft with excelent fuel cost per seat,and with the extremly robust dc9 airframe.I think the last of about 140 or 150 airframes was delivered around year 2000.I know it was a slow seller,much because of early problems with the engines,A type Airbus is using today with great success.One other reason I belive for it,s slow selling was the fact that many potensional customers was happy with their DC9 and MD80 product.I also belive Boeing did not want a MD product to steal orders from the 737,and of course having only one production line to concentrate on is also cost saving.But what in these times where many DC9 and MD80,s are going to be replaced.Instead of two excelent products;Boeing have only one.And not every airline favoured the 737.Airbus is selling many of the 320 series to airlines who were Douglas customers for ages.
When yoy know how important the 150 seat market is for both Boeing and Airbus,Could it be that Boeing,s decicion in the late 90,s was a stupid one?

72 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 14527 times:

I'd say because no one was buying them..........but I also think the MD-90 was planned to be shelved a few years before Boeing bought McD. All that McD was really building at the time was the MD-95....which became the 717. That along with the fact that since Boeing bought McD...and they already offered models that fit those markets, they were doomed once the pen was on the sales slip

[Edited 2008-04-24 13:07:49]


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineB767 From Norway, joined Feb 2008, 127 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 14416 times:

Selling 150 airframes on only 4 years from first delivery is.t terrible bad in my opinion.First delivery was in 1995 to Delta.Boeing bought MD in 97 and the last MD90 was delivered late 99.I can,t see why MD would have stopped production without a real fight.They did in fact selling nearly 40 airframes a year.

User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6411 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 14330 times:

Just about any mechanic who's worked on one will tell you that the IAE V2500's suck to work on when fuselage mounted. I'm not sure why that is...  Sad


Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineScottB From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6793 posts, RR: 32
Reply 4, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 14212 times:



Quoting B767 (Thread starter):
I also belive Boeing did not want a MD product to steal orders from the 737,and of course having only one production line to concentrate on is also cost saving.

I think you answered your own question...

Quoting B767 (Thread starter):
When yoy know how important the 150 seat market is for both Boeing and Airbus,Could it be that Boeing,s decicion in the late 90,s was a stupid one?

Well, no. The MD-90 was selling poorly in the market against its two closest competitors -- the A320 and the 737 Classic (and future NG737). There's no reason to believe that would have changed, especially after the 737-800 hit the market.


User currently offlineTXKF2010 From Bermuda, joined Nov 2005, 208 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 14199 times:

Same reason Vince McMahon killed WCW...it wasn't their baby. As for having aircraft that fit those markets (sizewise anyway) the 717 is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better then the 737-600 IMO.


...Rastafari Stands Alone...
User currently offlineOyKIE From Norway, joined Jan 2006, 2754 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 14164 times:

As much as I like the DC-9 in all shapes and sizes I believe that one reason was all teething problems with the new plane and no trans continental range. The electrical parts on the MD-90 halted often, but McDonnell Douglas solved these after a while.

IMO Boeing could have made the MD-90 a true transcontinental airplane, but maybe Boeing was afraid that it would kill of the 737NG?



Dream no small dream; it lacks magic. Dream large, then go make that dream real - Donald Douglas
User currently offlineD950 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 493 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 14151 times:



Quoting ScottB (Reply 5):
There's no reason to believe that would have changed, especially after the 737-800 hit the market.

Maybe true, but right now, DL is making more money off the MD90 than the 738. Those terrible IAE V-2500 engines are extremely efficient.



Resting on your laurels is a synonym for flirting with disaster
User currently offlineBravoGolf From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 539 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 14142 times:

I think that you will find that the MD 90 sold very poorly because of a new, very trouble prone electrical system. The alternators I believe, worked off some type of variable speed system that was a nightmare. By the time the problems were corrected, the series was doomed due to low sales.

User currently offlineB767 From Norway, joined Feb 2008, 127 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 14008 times:

In many replys you are saying the md90 sold very poorly,but 40 airframes a year from first delivery is not bad at all.That would be 800 sold aircrafts in twenty years for heaven sake.More than enough to break even since it is based on the MD80,but with more efficent engines.I think much of the problems was that many of the loyal McDonnell Douglas customers was more than happy with their old dc9,s and maddogs because of their incredible high cycle service life.Earlier the fuel prices was much more moderate,which meant replacing the fleet was pointless.
But today many former MD customers are buying A320,s
My point is that I belive that if Boeing would hold the line open,they may have reduced the sale of the 737,but they would have drastically have reduced the marked share of Airbus.In my opinion that would be logical from a competition point of view.They also killed the 717 even when several customers was interrested in a stretch variant.


User currently offlineJAL From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 5090 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 13985 times:

Shame Boeing decided to kill off the 717, they were selling not that badly.


Work Hard But Play Harder
User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 984 posts, RR: 51
Reply 11, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 13955 times:



Quoting JAL (Reply 11):
Shame Boeing decided to kill off the 717, they were selling not that badly.

Seriously? It only sold 155 units in nine years, and Boeing only managed single-digit sales years after 2002. Boeing sized the market at nearly 3,000 aircraft over twenty years. The 717 fell on its face.


User currently offlineScottB From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6793 posts, RR: 32
Reply 12, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 13940 times:



Quoting D950 (Reply 8):
but right now, DL is making more money off the MD90 than the 738.

If they're making more money off the MD-90, it's likely because the ownership costs of the aircraft (leases and/or depreciation) are much lower these days -- in large part due to the MD-90 being an orphan type.

Quoting B767 (Reply 10):
but 40 airframes a year from first delivery is not bad at all.

Um, perhaps in the 1960's that would have been good or it might be OK for a widebody type, but when compared to the volumes of the A320 and 737 lines, it's peanuts. And the cost per unit is higher when you don't have the same economies of scale, as is the cost of ongoing support for the ones that are in service.

Quoting B767 (Reply 10):
More than enough to break even

Just breaking even is a failure. You might as well just stick the money into Treasuries and actually get a return.

Quoting B767 (Reply 10):
My point is that I belive that if Boeing would hold the line open,they may have reduced the sale of the 737,but they would have drastically have reduced the marked share of Airbus.

No, they wouldn't. As a matter of government policy, Airbus was designed to take a large part of the commercial aircraft business.


User currently offlineBohica From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2718 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 13847 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 3):
Just about any mechanic who's worked on one will tell you that the IAE V2500's suck to work on when fuselage mounted. I'm not sure why that is.

A mechanic would rather stand on solid ground as opposed to being on a lifting device.


User currently offlineUltimateDelta From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 2147 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 13823 times:

It was failing to attract many orders because airlines had their MD-80s. Obviously it was too costly to build planes nobody would buy.


Midwest Airlines- 1984-2010
User currently offlineB767 From Norway, joined Feb 2008, 127 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 13767 times:

As a reply to ScottB.I think 800 sold(Hypothetical off course would have made a good profit for MD since it only was an update,and not an entirely new aircraft)And what are you meaning when you say goverment policy influence on marketshares?

User currently offlineMoMan From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1054 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 13651 times:



Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 12):
Seriously? It only sold 155 units in nine years, and Boeing only managed single-digit sales years after 2002. Boeing sized the market at nearly 3,000 aircraft over twenty years. The 717 fell on its face.

Boeing put a half-assed effort into selling the 717 too, instead preferring to push carriers to the 737-7 and 737-8.

If they had built the 717-300 they could have sold replacements for all MD-80s and classic 737s.

Boeing had no desire to service or continue the lives on any McD product - they bought McD to keep it out of Airbus' hands.



AA Platinum Member - American Airlines Forever
User currently offlineMPDPilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 994 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 13615 times:

I would like to chime in here. I have read a fair amount about this situation, because the MD90 is in my opinion far superior to the 737 and A320 in it's own roles. I would much rather ride on a MD90 then a 737 or 320. Granted I think that the 737 and 320 as a whole are better in a multi-role form.

I really think that what killed the MD90 and 717 was partially McD not being in the best shape at the time, and partially due to Boeing letting it happen. I think the had Boeing been willing, we could easily see 800 airframes in the market. Now whether or not this would be a good thing for Boeing is questionable. I think someone mentioned it already but I think Boeing would have taken a number of orders away from Airbus. Perhaps that would have justified the extra cost.

I will also point out that we can talk about this till we're blue in the face, but Boeing isn't going do anything about it. Perhaps things could have been different but things are the way they are.



One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.
User currently offlinePlanefxr From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 13561 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 3):
Just about any mechanic who's worked on one will tell you that the IAE V2500's suck to work on when fuselage mounted. I'm not sure why that is...

The actual engine is not so bad to work on in general, there a few components that are extremely time consuming to change, this is primarily due to the fact that the engine was rotated 90 degrees from it's wing mount design to be mounted on the tail of the MD-90. Because the wiring harnesses are routed differently through the pylon there has been some wiring issues as well. I might also add engine changes themselves are ridiculous, averaging anywhere from 24-72 hrs as compared to and MD-88 JT8D-219 that can be removed and installed in 8hrs.

Quoting OyKIE (Reply 7):
Boeing could have made the MD-90 a true transcontinental airplane, but maybe Boeing was afraid that it would kill of the 737NG?

I believe it would probably needed a whole wing redesign among other things it is still a DC-9 certificated airframe, yes lots of analog to digital uprgrades, but still a lot of cables driving components.

Quoting D950 (Reply 8):
Those terrible IAE V-2500 engines are extremely efficient.

A lot of nuisance messages, but yes when running well it is very efficient.

Quoting BravoGolf (Reply 9):
I think that you will find that the MD 90 sold very poorly because of a new, very trouble prone electrical system. The alternators I believe, worked off some type of variable speed system that was a nightmare. By the time the problems were corrected, the series was doomed due to low sales.

Actually the generator system. It is variable speed constant frequency system with a no break power transfer. When running it is very nice. The problem is, it still is a nightmare, and many of the original problems have not been corrected despite many software upgrades and changes by the manufacturer. In my opinion it is not designed well enough for the operation or the environment in which it used. i.e numerous flights a day and de-icing fluid ingested in the cooling system is a major problem.

Quoting ScottB (Reply 13):
If they're making more money off the MD-90, it's likely because the ownership costs of the aircraft (leases and/or depreciation) are much lower these days -- in large part due to the MD-90 being an orphan type.

The ownership costs could drop even more if DL acquires more MD-90's which they are looking into with or without a merger with NW. The more shells you have of a particular a/c your average cost goes down. It is actually a good a/c for many markets that DL serves in the west.

Quoting Bohica (Reply 14):
A mechanic would rather stand on solid ground as opposed to being on a lifting device.

I would put my Mother-in-law on one.  wink 


User currently offlineScottB From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6793 posts, RR: 32
Reply 19, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 13530 times:



Quoting MoMan (Reply 17):
they bought McD to keep it out of Airbus' hands.

No, Boeing bought MDD to get their share of the defense business.

Quoting B767 (Reply 16):
As a reply to ScottB.I think 800 sold(Hypothetical off course would have made a good profit for MD since it only was an update

Not necessarily because again they'd lack the economies of scale to be cost-competitive with Boeing & Airbus. Your per-frame overhead is going to be significantly higher if you're making 40/year versus 300-400/year at A or B.

Quoting MoMan (Reply 17):
If they had built the 717-300 they could have sold replacements for all MD-80s and classic 737s.

So they could undercut themselves on pricing for the 73G? So that prospective buyers could say, well, the 717-300 rep just offered me a price that's $2 million less than the 73G you're offering me? Boeing's strategy hasn't been about chasing market share.


User currently offlinePlanefxr From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 13510 times:

Quoting MPDPilot (Reply 18):
because the MD90 is in my opinion far superior to the 737 and A320 in it's own roles.

I am curious as to why you feel this way?

[Edited 2008-04-24 17:44:38]

User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9666 posts, RR: 52
Reply 21, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 13470 times:



Quoting MoMan (Reply 17):
Boeing put a half-assed effort into selling the 717 too, instead preferring to push carriers to the 737-7 and 737-8.

How on earth can you prove that statement? The fact that Boeing Capital Corporation had to finance the majority of the 717s sold means that Boeing really did push hard for that airplane. Boeing couldn't convince leasing companies that the plane was going to be a plane that would be in demand. Leasing companies didn't want to be stuck with them. Boeing put its own buck on the line when it came to the 717.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6411 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 13448 times:

Didn't Delta cancel a rather large follow-on order for the inital 16 that they ordered (just going off of memory here...)? Anyone know what reason they gave for that?


Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlinePlanefxr From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 13432 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 23):
Didn't Delta cancel a rather large follow-on order for the inital 16 that they ordered (just going off of memory here...)? Anyone know what reason they gave for that?

They had an original order for 120 MD-90's to eventually replaced 727's, after taking delivery of 16 they canceled in favor of the 737-800. A couple of factors came into play here. The MD-90 was not meeting expectations and DL entered into the exclusive agreement with Boeing.


User currently offlineMPDPilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 994 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 13386 times:



Quoting Planefxr (Reply 21):
I am curious as to why you feel this way?

Maybe not in every sense, I have read some things about it and I really think that the MD90 does the 1000mi flights and less better than the 737 and 320. For one I think it is far more comfortable, both noise and seating arrangements. The 737 and 320 in my opinion in these short sectors only have the commonality thing going for them. I just think that in almost every area the MD90 is on par or better then the 737 and 320.

Do you want more details?



One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.
25 Planefxr : There's more?
26 Dacman : Boeing actually officially offered the 717-300 but the problem was they didn't increase the range. The 717 would have sold very well if the range had
27 Tdscanuck : Boeing continues to service and support all MD aircraft in service. ScottB is right...they bought it for the defense business. The commercial divisio
28 WESTERN737800 : I've never flown on an MD90 or 738. I would imagine that the 90 is not quite as noisy as a 738 as the engines are behind all pax on the 90. I think th
29 Woodsboy : I think that those "in the know" KNOW that Boeing killed all the adopted MDC aircraft in favor of theirs, no other reason. They just didnt get out and
30 Planefxr : When you compare the performance characteristics of the two the 737-800 vs. MD-90, it is not even a contest, range, MTOW, mission capabilities and rel
31 MoMan : Boeing made a good effort to sell the 717 to the minimum orders required for parts suppliers. They never wanted to sell an aircraft that was a direct
32 TrijetsRMissed : I think at the very least, the MD-90 would have garnered more orders from Oriental carriers in Asia, as that's where it proved to be most popular. But
33 Flyibaby : I remember the joke in DFW a few years ago when the 90's were based there, was that DL had to buy two and they got the third one free.
34 Beeweel15 : Since the MD80 was built also in China under contract could the 717 be reoffered as a BBJ at least. I do know that China is offering a new aircraft a
35 Tdscanuck : At the time, the joke was that MD bought Boeing with Boeing's money. The FAA requires Boeing to support all of their type certificates as long as the
36 Ryanair!!! : Didn't the crash of Alaska Airlines expose a fundamental flaw in the design of the MD's T-Tail structure?
37 MPDPilot : There are more details yes. they are just continuation of what I already said. I just didn't feel like digging that information up if you didn't want
38 SEPilot : With this fact in evidence, I find it difficult to believe that all this talk of Boeing deliberately killing off MD aircraft is the whole story. Firs
39 Mortyman : Does SAS still have their MD 90's ? How many did they buy ? They were one of the few carriers who bought the aircraft.
40 Someone83 : They have 8 MD-90 although none of they fly in SAS colors. 3 are leased to Hello, while 5 are flying for Blue1 (aka SAS Finland)
41 Burkhard : Before the merger, Boeing had a 55% market share, Airbus 30%, MD 12%. After the merger, we know it went to 50:50 rather fast. Boeing, under the false
42 SEPilot : Excellent point; I think there is wide agreement that Boeing's arrogance in the late 90's and early 00's has cost them dearly. Whether or not the dea
43 MoMan : No, it only revealed a lack of maintenance by Alaska Airlines. They did NOT follow procedures when greasing the jackscrew which caused it to fail in
44 Highflier92660 : Exactly. When McDonnell Douglas was purchased by Boeing an article quoted a retired executive who said the biggest fault in MD business strategy lay
45 ScottB : Again, Boeing didn't buy MDD for their commercial aircraft market share or business. The part of the company which had value was the defense side. Ho
46 D950 : By that time, the only person who had a chance to keep the line open was Joe Leonard, but he caved on the 73G. I will say it again, if the end user w
47 LonghornDC9 : It is important to remember also, that the 737NG and A320 are basically just all-around better airplanes. The MD-90 is basically just an MD-80 with ne
48 Tdscanuck : Nope. Sort of. They followed their FAA approved maintenance plan to the letter. The error was in extending one of their check intervals (with approva
49 TrijetsRMissed : Not exactly a design flaw. The crash showed that with negligence, a failure of the jackscrew will cause a catastrophic dive that will not be recovera
50 TrijetsRMissed : You are right, with the exception of the flightdeck. The flightdeck was unchanged, the original flightdeck for the MD-95, which was an upgrade based
51 Planefxr : The new joke is trading three broken tow bars and a RJ for one MD-90 from China. I don't think there is a fundamental flaw in the T-tail itself. Howe
52 Planefxr : There were some inconsistencies or shall I say two interpretations of the limits for wear on the jackscrew during its last inspection at AS. The AMT
53 TrijetsRMissed : The AS aircraft in question, an MD-83, had an electric motor for the elevators. IIRC, while troubleshooting, the crew continually restarted and power
54 ConcordeBoy : Ah yes, so shameful that it will be replaced with an aircraft with far greater payload density profile and range, that's also more maintenance-friend
55 Tdscanuck : The NTSB doesn't agree with you...which piece of work are you referring to? This is true, but it's also per AS and FAA approved process. The mechanic
56 SEPilot : I still question whether this was the real reason, considering the influence that McDonnell and Stonecipher had at Boeing. Could it be the simple fac
57 Post contains links TrijetsRMissed : Ah yes, more ignorance, and what a surprise. It is a shame when many more MD-11Fs were to be sold. That was in 1998, what year is it now? When did th
58 Tdscanuck : I assume you mean this statement: "And in the midst of this, the accident aircraft was dispatched from a C-check with a jackscrew of questionable ser
59 Ken4556 : I also firmly believe that airlines would not buy the 717 as the unions consider it a DC-9 and required mainline pilots to fly it. Since most airlines
60 Lat41 : It may have been mentioned before, but the MD-90 would have needed a new wing configuration to be really successful and competitive. That was not in t
61 LMP737 : What he said.
62 TrijetsRMissed : I'm not denying that the extended interval length caused the accident. But the fact is, the interval was extended by the FAA after the C check was no
63 FlyingClrs727 : That's really smart of unions at Boeing. Just wait till Airbus puts a passenger aircraft assembly facility in the US in a right to work state.
64 TN757Flyer : Agreed. They could've kept and stretched the 717 (which Airtran wanted badly), and killed off the horrendously bad selling 737-600. A couple of 717 m
65 LonghornDC9 : Yes sir, this was exactly my point. Forgive me if in my affection for DC-9 aircraft if I sounded a little harsh on Boeing. I freely admit killing the
66 Planefxr : MD-83, MD-88 there is no difference other than the avionics package, both do not have powered elevators. The electric motor you are referencing is fo
67 TrijetsRMissed : Okay, I'm not an MD-80 mechanic, but my point was the pilots considered the motor as a possible cause when troubleshooting to correct the pitch contr
68 Planefxr : Yes they did suspect a problem with the STAB trim motor which runs the gimbal nut up and down the jackscrew and this is where the problem was, not on
69 LMP737 : Boeing could have poured truck loads of money into marketing the MD-90 and still not have sold any more than MD did. The only real way to have get ai
70 Jfk777 : It was killed by Boeing because the 737-800 was their new baby.
71 LMP737 : The year Boeing and MD merged the MD-90 had a grand total of three orders. The 737-800 had a hundred and fourteen. The MD-90 was preety much DOA by t
72 DALMD88 : I really thing DL had a big hand in killing both the MD90 and MDC when they cancelled the order for 120 airfames. I think the cancellation was before
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