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Why Did TWA Get Rid Of Their First DC-9 Fleet?  
User currently offlineThrust From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 2690 posts, RR: 10
Posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 4102 times:

Basically what the question says. TWA seemed to have differing views on the DC-9 at the end of the '70s and the end of the '1980s. They actually retired the Boeing 727-100s I believe soon after the Ozark buyout, and they kept those DC-9s well until they were over 30 years old. TWA ordered a batch of about 20 or so DC-9-10s in the mid-1960s and flew them until around the end of the '70s. I've never figured out why TWA decided to get rid of them...did they favor the 727 more at that time? Even if they were only leased, i'm surprised TWA wasn't more aggressive in pursuing them. Or were they sold for similar reasons that some of the 747s were during the oil crisis: to raise cash?

I'd like to know the answer to this, because quite frankly, I never would've guessed such a large DC-9 operator would have canned its original fleet, only to keep an even greater amount later.


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7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineflyguy89 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 1967 posts, RR: 21
Reply 1, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 4069 times:

Quoting Thrust (Thread starter):
I'd like to know the answer to this, because quite frankly, I never would've guessed such a large DC-9 operator would have canned its original fleet, only to keep an even greater amount later.

Well, as you stated, what they operated initially were early-build DC-9-10's or 'Baby-nines' I believe they're also called. While they were ok to operate in the regulated environment in the 60's and early 70's with oil decently cheap, thirsty un-economical twin jets that carried less than 90 pax quickly became unprofitable to operate with deregulation and spiking oil-prices, and TWA along with a lot of other carriers with early-build 'baby-nines' dumped them. In TWA's case, the DC-9 later came back into their fold with Ozark, but those were higher capacity -30's and -50's which were far and away more economical and profitable to operate as compared to their early-build -10's with a max capacity for 90 pax.


User currently offlineplanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3529 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 3671 times:

Think of aircraft efficiency on these "timelines":

Int'l 707 -> Int'l 747/DC-10 -> Int'l 767/A300 -> Int'l 777/A330 -> Int'l 787/A350

Trunk 707/DC-8 -> Trunk DC-10/747 -> Hub 767/757 -> Hub A321/738/739 -> Hub 737 MAX/A320neo

Domestic 707 -> Domestic 727/732/DC9 -> Domestic 733/D9S/M80 -> Domestic 73G/A320/717 -> Domestic 737MAX/A320neo

To sum up TWA's decision: In the mid-80s, the DC-9-10 was a 90 seat aircraft flying with engines that were slightly more efficient than an original 707 or DC-8. A 727-200 also burned a lot of gas relative to newer aircraft, but carried about 100 percent more passengers with only 50 percent more engine (and the 200s carried newer engines than the original 727).



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User currently offlineordpark From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 574 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3472 times:
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Yeah, those answers pretty much sum up the DC-9-10 and TW...too expensive to operate - unprofitable and expensive to maintain....pretty much the justification for getting rid of any fleet of aircraft.....It was a neat little airplane, though

User currently offlineOzarkD9S From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5158 posts, RR: 21
Reply 4, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3437 times:

Yet TWA inherited 7 DC-9-10's from Ozark, and kept them in the fleet into the 90's...maybe commonality with the rest of the OZ 9's offset the higher operating costs.

I remember flying the -10's in a non-rev capacity on Ozark a bunch of times and once or twice on TWA. I remember frequently when the non-revs found out it was a "shorty" there was always a bit of apprehension on whether there were enough open seats for everyone. Never got bumped off one though, and a great little plane too, always seemed to shoot off the runway no matter the load.

I never kept track of registration numbers as a kid but would be most surprised if I didn't fly every -10 Ozark operated.



Next Up: STL-EWR-STL for my first mileage run!
User currently offlineCWAFlyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 669 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3196 times:

I don't think I flew on any of the original TWA -10's and I know I didn't fly on any of the ones they got from OZ. I did however fly on a few of Republic's -10's that came by way of both Hughes and Southern. With no leading edge slats, the take off speeds were faster and they would take off like a scalded dog.

User currently offlinemilesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2006 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2822 times:

TW dumped their DC-9-14's for fleet simplification. They sold them, I believe, to either Texas International or the original Midway. If they were so unprofitable to operate as has been alleged above, they would have been grounded permanently, not operated by other US passenger carriers. Southern had a large fleet of baby Nines, and Hughes Airwest did too, and Republic kept them and most went on to Northwest and stayed there for years after TWA dumped theirs. The DC-9 was an oddball airplane at TWA. They had a small fleet, 19 as I remember, after losing one in a Mid Air in 1967, and at the time they sold them, they were not yet committed to expanding the STL hub to cities where smaller aircraft made sense. TWA had a large fleet of 727's, including the original stubby -31's. lead sled -231's, and Advanced 231's. They never operated the DC-9's west of Wichita, and they were used primarily on short multistop flights. TWA's lack of a twin engine 100-120 seat aircraft caused some of their problems at the beginning of deregulation, when their domestic fleet consisted of 727's, 707's, and L-1011's. I believe they ordered 10 to 20 MD-82's for delivery in 1982-83, right after American made their first Dash 80 order. They kept Ozark's DC-9's and were still replacing them at the end (2001), because they had nothing else to replace them with, until the 717's started to be delivered. If you remember, they had also ordered A-319 or A-318's, to replace the Nines but they were never delivered.

User currently offlinetan flyr From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1916 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2710 times:

Quoting CWAFlyer (Reply 5):
With no leading edge slats, the take off speeds were faster and they would take off like a scalded dog.

Yeah..I few a few of EA's baby 9's out of Ind...that is pretty much how thery were aso.

Quoting milesrich (Reply 6):
TWA's lack of a twin engine 100-120 seat aircraft caused some of their problems at the beginning of deregulation, when their domestic fleet consisted of 727's, 707's, and L-1011's. I believe they ordered 10 to 20 MD-82's for delivery in 1982-83, right after American made their first Dash 80 order.

IIRC, it was the other way around (but I could be wrong) McD made a deal with TW first on a cheap, walk away if you don't like 'em lease on the first 15. Crandall got wind of it, and wanted the same deal..and got it..and more. I believe the deal that AA struck got almost every third one free.

Back to topic tho, the MD-80's for TW proved a life saver for them at the time..efficient lift, new planes compared to the last 707's they were flying at the time. Those first 15 may have been almost one for one for those last 707's that they retires in the fall of 83.


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