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Northwest Airlines And The MD-80  
User currently offlinec5load From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 917 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 10639 times:

I know Northwest (yeah remember them?) once had the MD-80, but got rid of them back in the '90s. What variant were they? Also, why didn't NW keep them as early replacement for the older DC-9s? Was NW not happy with its performance, or just not happy with the MD-80 at all b/c they never went for any other model of it. I saw on another website that they were all scrapped except for the one that was lost in a crash, why weren't they sold to Allegiant, Falcon, or any other of a number of carriers that operate the MD-80?


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[Edited 2010-06-12 17:04:37]


"But this airplane has 4 engines, it's an entirely different kind of flying! Altogether"
34 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSquid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 10549 times:

I believe they were MD-82's and they acquired them from Republic Airlines through the merger. Considering that NWA was not in a very financially strong position after that merger, it precluded NWA from ordering new AC at that time, thus requiring NWA to make use of it's current fleet. Additionally, NWA was more interested in the A320 family as a long term domestic AC, and the DC-9-30 was the perfect sized AC for many of NWA's smaller stations, and NWA would still be flying them today if there they wouldn't have merged, and there was an affordable way to replace the tail-cone pressure bulkhead. At one time, NWA was considering a deal with AA to acquire their MD-80's as they were sold off, but AA wasn't going to get rid of them fast enough, and regional AC, were at that time, supplementing the larger A320's and A319's that were replacing the DC-9's that had to be pulled from service.

User currently offlinec5load From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 917 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10485 times:

Thanks for the info. It just seems odd that aircraft that were ~17 yrs old (?) weren't taken up by other LCC carriers. And I'm sure they weren't even close to their cycle limit at the time.


"But this airplane has 4 engines, it's an entirely different kind of flying! Altogether"
User currently offlineramprat74 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1537 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10435 times:

If I remember. They had a very small sub fleet of 8 MD-82's? I know one of the MD-82 routes was ONT-MSP-ONT.

User currently offlinedrerx7 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5192 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10394 times:

And one was lost on that unfortunate dtw-phx run.


Third Coast born, means I'm Texas raised
User currently offlineEMB170 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 648 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10384 times:

I used to date a FA at NW who was MSP based. Granted, these stories are anecdotal, but he had just been hired by NW when the last one or two MD80s were still in service. He told me that in his training classes, they had to include the MD80 just in case, but that the new FAs really weren't tested that much on it; in fact, they were told, "You technically have to know this, but you'll never work this airplane because we only have a couple of these left in the fleet and the former RC crews always bid these planes."

And, truth be told, he never did work it, but he nonrevved home on it one time (back to SLC) and he said that the MD80 was in pretty bad shape.



Can passenger jets fly as fast as my feet do? Let's find out...
User currently offlinetimf From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 969 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10364 times:
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I flew on them several times on MSP-SLC. The interiors were different than other NW planes (maybe not the seat covers, but I can't remember now), I assume the bulkheads were retained from the Republic days. They didn't get the same treatment as the DC-9s and had a small F cabin since they were retired around the time those modifications were happening.

User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6536 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10271 times:

Didn't Spirit operate some ex-NW MD-80s? One time I flew on them the FA said it was an ex-NW aircraft. There were some differences that I noticed, such as overhead bins with holding rails, as well as No Smoking/Fasten Seat Belt signs over the aisle in addition to the ones below the bins.


The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently offlineSquid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10230 times:

Spirit did aquire seveal MD-82's from NWA, I think it was 6 or 7.

User currently offlineCompensateMe From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10161 times:

Quoting Squid (Reply 1):
Considering that NWA was not in a very financially strong position after that merger

At the time it acquired Republic, NW was among the world's richest airlines (NW's riches later made it a target for a leveraged buyout, which was ultimately completed and placed NW into the realm of financial instability).

The reason NW didn't order additional MD-80s is simple: it had already committed to the much more advanced Airbus 320. When NW looked into renewing its fleet in the mid-1990s, acquisition cost for second-hand MD-80s was still high and fuel costs low which made operating the Boeing 727-200 a little bit longer a more attractive option.

Quoting Squid (Reply 8):
Spirit did aquire seveal MD-82's from NWA, I think it was 6 or 7.

I'm fairly certain that all of the ex-RC MD-80s were broken up for parts after they were retired by NW. Somebody else can look that it  .



Hypocrisy: "US airlines should only buy Boeing... BTW, check out my new Hyundai!"
User currently offlinePSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7591 posts, RR: 27
Reply 10, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9975 times:

The short of it:
- MD-80's were originally ordered by Republic
- When NW merged with RC, they got the 9 early-build MD-80's
- NW got a great deal to be one of the first North American customers for the A320
- NW used the MD-80s to for their better hot & high performance out west than the 727s and also in noise restricted airports like SNA
- NW wanted to get A330's and A340s but was in poor financial shape and ended up deffering the order
- The NW-KLM alliance required NW to quickly acquire a bunch of second hand DC-10-30s to grow their TATL network
- NW continued to acquired 2nd hand DC-9-30's and they made the decision to pursue the DC-9-2000 program to completely overhaul the fleet
- NW looked at getting additional MD-80's in the mid-90s but the costs were high and few airframes were available
- NW was growing the A320 fleet and had a significant number of 727-200's
- The MD-80 was the third aircraft type in the 150 seat range and a small subfleet
- NW removed the MD-80s in the late 90's at the time when they were refurbishing DC-9s and expanding First class fleet-wide.
- NW 255 the crash at DTW in 1987 involved one of the MD-80s going DTW-PHX-SNA
- Most of the MD-80s have since been broken up

One of the big questions is what were the specifics that caused NW to go with the A320 versus the MD-80 in the late 80's. It is interesting to wonder what would've happened to the NW fleet had they decided to go McD instead of Airbus at that point. Could've led more to MD-90's and 717s in the fleet and/or 737NGs down the road.


User currently offlineMLD9S From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9878 times:

Quoting PSU.DTW.SCE (Reply 10):
- NW used the MD-80s to for their better hot & high performance out west than the 727s and also in noise restricted airports like SNA

And yes....speaking of Orange County....Northwest flight 255 was enroute from Detroit to Phoenix and then on to Orange County. That tag-on route being probably one of the very, VERY last remainders of what had previously been a strong Hughes Airwest/Republic hub in Phoenix.

And before anyone jumps in and says that Phoenix was never a Republic hub...pull out your old timetables, if you have any, and you will see that the "hub" terminal maps included Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis and Phoenix in the early years of the Hughes Airwest/Republic merger. Those maps also specifically mentioned the fact that Republic was the largest carrier in Phoenix.


User currently offlineCompensateMe From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9840 times:

Quoting PSU.DTW.SCE (Reply 10):
One of the big questions is what were the specifics that caused NW to go with the A320 versus the MD-80 in the late 80's.

Superior technology, commonality with the A330/A340 and the ability to fly transcontinental routes (remember, this order was developed before NW purchased RC). Unfortunately, initial testing showed that the (early) 320 with IAE engines would struggle to fly transcontinental routes (specifically BOS-SEA) with a full payload - which is a key reason NW - a PW consumer - opted for CMF56 instead.



Hypocrisy: "US airlines should only buy Boeing... BTW, check out my new Hyundai!"
User currently offlineN501US From United States of America, joined May 2005, 220 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7508 times:
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I think it is more about the small number of -80 airframes inherited from RC as much as anything. Why keep a fleet of 6-8 aircraft with different engines, etc with suitable replacements readily available from within the existing fleet?


Fools and thieves are well disguised in the temple and the marketplace.....
User currently offlinetrijetsrmissed From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2353 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6852 times:

Given the timeframe, it's too bad NW didn't go the DL route and opt for the MD-88. If only MDC mgmt knew how the tables would turn in the '90s, maybe they would have matched Airbus's lowball offering for the A320.


There's nothing quite like a tri-jet.
User currently offlineTOMMY767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6584 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6648 times:

Quoting MLD9S (Reply 11):
if you have any, and you will see that the "hub" terminal maps included Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis and Phoenix in the early years of the Hughes Airwest/Republic merger

I recall. NW briefly flew PHX-EWR with the 757 in 1986-1987.



"Folks that's the news and I'm outta here!" -- Dennis Miller
User currently offlineFiestaFlight From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 54 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 6318 times:

The late 90's were not fun times flying NW.

I remember riding on an MD80 from MSP-BOS, and the captain told us after t/o
that we only had so much fuel onboard, and hopefully we'll make it to BOS if it's
not too congested.
Well, after holding for 20 min. over western Mass. they said it was decision time, and
had elected for a fuel stop in Hartford.

It was an inconvenience for most, but I didn't mind, since I'd never been to Bradley before.
I still thought it was odd that they departed MSP with minimal fuel for a pretty short trip. Maybe to
save money? It was hot in the U.S. too.
Took off from BDL and circled some more over Rhode Island for another 45 minutes before getting
into BOS - go figure.


User currently offlineYXwatcherMKE From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1003 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 6293 times:

Quoting MLD9S (Reply 11):
And before anyone jumps in and says that Phoenix was never a Republic hub...pull out your old timetables, if you have any, and you will see that the "hub" terminal maps included Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis and Phoenix in the early years of the Hughes Airwest/Republic merger. Those maps also specifically mentioned the fact that Republic was the largest carrier in Phoenix


I do in deed remember Republic advertising the PHX hub when Hughes Airwest joined Republic. Because My wife remarked that it would make going out to PHX to visit my brother easier. And it did about 5 months later that my wife and I had our first ride on the 757. I really liked the take-off in a 757 because so did my wife, it gave her a real rush. Hope I don't have to explain myself?



I miss the 60's & 70's when you felt like a guest on the plane not cattle like today
User currently offlineCody From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1932 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5847 times:

Quoting MLD9S (Reply 11):
....speaking of Orange County....Northwest flight 255 was enroute from Detroit to Phoenix and then on to Orange County. That tag-on route being probably one of the very, VERY last remainders of what had previously been a strong Hughes Airwest/Republic hub in Phoenix.



The Orange County-Phoenix route WAS the very last remnant of the PHX hub. The only other non-stops operated out of PHX by Northwest were to DTW, MSP, and MEM. In fact, by the time Republic and Northwest merged, Stephen Wolf had already closed down the PHX hub completely (save the SNA tag route) and instead decided to concentrate on MSP, DTW, and MEM. The goal was to make it easier for someone, namely Northwest, to merge with Republic. Prior to Wolf, the Republic route structure was a somewhat unorganized, hodge-podge mess. ATL was also a Republic hub. I don't have an exact date of its closing, but I want to say ATL was reduced to a spoke by 1984.


User currently offlineYXwatcherMKE From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1003 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5756 times:

Quoting Cody (Reply 18):
ATL was also a Republic hub. I don't have an exact date of its closing, but I want to say ATL was reduced to a spoke by 1984.


Close, it was late '83 that it was de-hubbed. It was one of two hubs of Southern Airlines, the other being MEM. They had 8 or 10 routes and about 24 to 30 flights out of ATL by the end of 1984 until the sale of Republic to NW.



I miss the 60's & 70's when you felt like a guest on the plane not cattle like today
User currently offlinenwaesc From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 3389 posts, RR: 9
Reply 20, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5755 times:

Quoting EMB170 (Reply 5):
And, truth be told, he never did work it, but he nonrevved home on it one time (back to SLC) and he said that the MD80 was in pretty bad shape.

The interiors looked like pirate ships towards the end...



"Nothing ever happens here, " I said. "I just wait."
User currently offlineDeltaRules From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3771 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5750 times:

Quoting CompensateMe (Reply 9):
I'm fairly certain that all of the ex-RC MD-80s were broken up for parts after they were retired by NW. Somebody else can look that it .

I remember seeing one being scrapped at DAB just East of Yelvington the first time I toured ERAU...in 2001.



Let's Kick the Tires & Light the Fires!!
User currently offlineCompensateMe From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5553 times:

Quoting trijetsrmissed (Reply 14):
Given the timeframe, it's too bad NW didn't go the DL route and opt for the MD-88. If only MDC mgmt knew how the tables would turn in the '90s, maybe they would have matched Airbus's lowball offering for the A320.

NW was sold on Airbus's high-technology and commonality, as well as the 320's ability to operate any route within its (pre-RC acquisition) network. It's probable that NW, which ordered 100 320 as well as a number of 330 and 340, likely received a packaged discount. The truth is that NW preferred the 320 over the MD-80 and McDonnell Douglas would've had to lowball Airbus in order to get NW to operate its aircraft (but NW may have opted for the 320, anyway).



Hypocrisy: "US airlines should only buy Boeing... BTW, check out my new Hyundai!"
User currently offlineCompensateMe From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5531 times:

Quoting DeltaRules (Reply 21):
I remember seeing one being scrapped at DAB just East of Yelvington the first time I toured ERAU...in 2001.

They were retired around 1999. I'm pretty certain they were scrapped for parts soon after, and did not fly for Spirit or any other airline.



Hypocrisy: "US airlines should only buy Boeing... BTW, check out my new Hyundai!"
User currently offlinetrijetsrmissed From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2353 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5432 times:

Quoting CompensateMe (Reply 22):
NW was sold on Airbus's high-technology and commonality, as well as the 320's ability to operate any route within its (pre-RC acquisition) network. It's probable that NW, which ordered 100 320 as well as a number of 330 and 340, likely received a packaged discount. The truth is that NW preferred the 320 over the MD-80 and McDonnell Douglas would've had to lowball Airbus in order to get NW to operate its aircraft (but NW may have opted for the 320, anyway).

First off, let me say it obviously was not a bad business decision on the part of NW, to sign for the A320.

Now that we've defended the type... I don't buy that the technology/commonality was the reason. Not back then. Also, wasn't the A320 just a paper airplane at that stage? The -200 certainly was, which is what counts.

The fact is, it really did come down to pricing. MD-80 sales were peaking in the mid 80s; Airbus needed this deal far more than MDC at that point in time. And the lowballing is true. There was a time when A340's were going for $67 mill USD, while an MD-11 was at $95 mill USD. Airbus was desperate to penetrate the market in the '80s, and by the '90s, it had paid off.



There's nothing quite like a tri-jet.
25 ckfred : NW also used the MD-80s as subs for 727s. I was flying MSP-MDW in 1997, scheduled on a 727. When I checked in, the CSR told me that the 727 had been s
26 NorthStarDC4M : Airbus gave NW GREAT terms on the A320. Airbus had a problem with the A320 when NW was looking to order. PA had gone bust and there were 100 orders fo
27 isitsafenow : slight correction, my friend. That's MBS-DTW-PHX-SNA. I thought Sprints MD-80's were from Alaska. The Republic-NW MD-80's were, as stated above, earl
28 Avconsultant : Southern Airways was the North American launch customer with Republic taking delivery. These birds were old.
29 n7371f : The last 8 were retired around the same time and all withdrawn from use at Marana (MZJ). According to records they were all broken up for parts at MZ
30 CompensateMe : This isn't correct. NW ordered the A320 in 1986, well before PA's A320 order was in limbo and long before PA went bust. This isn't correct either. NW
31 N1120A : Remember the times. There weren't many true LCCs, and the only one of any substance was WN, and we know what they fly (other the 2 flirtations with 7
32 sideflare75 : They are all on the same type certificate. A6WE Revision 26 McDonnell Douglas DC-9-11, DC-9-12, DC-9-13, DC-9-14, DC-9-15, DC-9-15F, DC-9-21, DC-9-31
33 FX1816 : I was under the impression that it was still Braniff Mk2 that ordered these A320's and with them came a new paint scheme. Obviously only a handful ma
34 Post contains links FX1816 : I know it's wikipedia but a quick search shows that it was indeed Braniff Mk2 that ordered and operated, albeit briefly, A320's. http://en.wikipedia.
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