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MD80: AA Vs DL  
User currently offlineeinsteinboricua From Puerto Rico, joined Apr 2010, 2981 posts, RR: 8
Posted (12 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 13122 times:

Perhaps this has already been addressed, but why is AA so keen on getting rid of its MD80s ASAP while DL still holds on to them?

Capacity wise, their MD80s can carry the same number of passengers so let's assume for now that they're equal. They have about the same range and from the looks of it they don't even use them for long travel.

I realize the only difference there was the number: AA had 200+ while DL remained below that number. Is the number of MD80s then the factor on why AA wants to replace them so quick?


"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
66 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4234 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (12 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 13126 times:

I believe the AA fleet is older than the DL fleet. That being said, I was on an MD-90 jumpseat recently. The plane could not get above 30000 feet that day, and we encountered bad turbulence the whole way....and we could not get over it because the plane literally could not climb any higher, and we couldn't get around it. They might have bigger engines, but they don't have a wing to go with the bigger engines according to the Captain.

Needless to say, I am not a big fan of the series. But the DL route structure is set up in a way where the MD 80s are at least somewhat economical, plus they are newer planes than most of the AA fleet. Consequently, the AA fleet is near the end of its lifetime, and thus AA is replacing them. Even Allegiant is getting newer equipment (A320 family).


User currently offlinefinnishway From Finland, joined Jul 2012, 307 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (12 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12999 times:

Why is AA getting rid of them?

Because they want newer and more economical fleet. That is one part of their "New American" program.

Why Delta don't get rid of them so fast? They have many aircraft, own maintenance company and they can even scrap some planes for spare parts. This works well for Delta at least for now.

Airlines just can't get new planes fast enough nowadays, because backlogs are so long. Only way to get newer aircraft fast is to buy used planes.


User currently offlinequestions From Australia, joined Sep 2011, 750 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (12 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12995 times:

It's a fleet management strategy.

Do you want to spend a lot of money on a new car that gets better gas mileage... or spend a lot less money on a pre-owned car that get worse gas mileage, paint the exterior and put in a new stereo system? And, most family members will not be able to tell the difference as long as it's clean and don't care as long as it's safe and reliable.

Said another way, it's all about the choices of where, when, and how the airline wants to spend its money.

[Edited 2013-07-27 10:40:16]

[Edited 2013-07-27 10:41:38]

User currently offlineMIflyer12 From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 960 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12888 times:

Quoting einsteinboricua (Thread starter):
from the looks of it they don't even use them for long travel.

That is one of the keys to successful use. DL tries to keep its MD-88s on shorter segments/lower daily utilization where the fuel penalty vs. a 738 or A320 is smaller.

Generally, DL's MD-88s were delivered later than AA's MD-80/83s. DL deliveries were '87-'93; AA's came in as early as 1981 (with some from TWA) and the last 'AA original' by 1992. About 40 of AA's newest came via TWA '96-'99.


User currently offlinerivervisual From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 51 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (12 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12847 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 1):
I believe the AA fleet is older than the DL fleet. That being said, I was on an MD-90 jumpseat recently. The plane could not get above 30000 feet that day, and we encountered bad turbulence the whole way....and we could not get over it because the plane literally could not climb any higher, and we couldn't get around it. They might have bigger engines, but they don't have a wing to go with the bigger engines according to the Captain.

Unless there was a specific MEL issue with that aircraft or the WX above 30000 feet to the service ceiling was worse there is no reason a MD-90 cannot fly above 30000 feet. I routinely fly the MD-90 and it has one of the better rides during bad weather. It may have it's issues but in the end it's a more fuel efficient MD-88 with more seats.


User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5167 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (12 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12814 times:

Quoting MIflyer12 (Reply 4):
That is one of the keys to successful use. DL tries to keep its MD-88s on shorter segments/lower daily utilization where the fuel penalty vs. a 738 or A320 is smaller.

Generally, DL's MD-88s were delivered later than AA's MD-80/83s. DL deliveries were '87-'93; AA's came in as early as 1981 (with some from TWA) and the last 'AA original' by 1992. About 40 of AA's newest came via TWA '96-'99.

I would suspect that while AA will retire its orginal MD-80s as quickly as possible, the former TWA aircraft will be the last to retire.

While the fact that longer flights are now costlier for MD-80s, with the higher fuel consumption, the fact that AA still has MD-80s is due, in part, to AA flying them on longer routes for some time.

Before the early 1990s, the MD-80 was a workhorse on short and medium-haul routes. But, when AA decided to retire a number of DC-10s, the MD-80s started flying longer routes. Out of ORD, they flew to every city in the Pacific Time Zone, except SNA, as well as PHX and TUS. The longer flights meant fewer cycles.


User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13509 posts, RR: 62
Reply 7, posted (12 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12747 times:
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Quoting einsteinboricua (Thread starter):
AA had 200+

Actually, 300+ at one point.



"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
User currently offlineDeltal1011man From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 9289 posts, RR: 14
Reply 8, posted (12 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12679 times:

Quoting einsteinboricua (Thread starter):

Route network.
AA's hit most markets and did (do?) routes like ORD-SEA. Delta generally keeps them east of the mississippi now, flying up and down the east coast.

The MD90 has replaced nearly all of the long haul 88 flying from ATL. Cities like DEN/ELP/ABQ use to be 88s and are now 90s.



yep.
User currently offlineTheRedBaron From Mexico, joined Mar 2005, 2189 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (12 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 12657 times:

I love Dc 9 platform !!! they are very nice in turbulence and provided I am not seated behind the wing (those pesky engines are torture!) is a very nice comfortable airplane... used to love the AM Md 83 they used on MEX-LAX route...


Delta doesnt like capital expenditure, hence they will milk those Md´s as long as they can...
TRB



The best seat in a Plane is the Jumpseat.
User currently onlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8400 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (12 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 12488 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 1):
I was on an MD-90 jumpseat recently. The plane could not get above 30000 feet that day

Really! IIRC I have been to 39k on DC-9 on MSP-ORD. This could be wrong but I do recall it.

M90 might struggle with very heavy fuel loads.


User currently offlinenutsaboutplanes From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 496 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (12 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 12377 times:

Quoting MIflyer12 (Reply 4):
That is one of the keys to successful use. DL tries to keep its MD-88s on shorter segments/lower daily utilization where the fuel penalty vs. a 738 or A320 is smaller.

I seem to recall a discussion on a net a while back where it was identified the the MD80 actually does as well or better than the 738 on short segments under 500 miles. I don't know if that was somebody's opinion or if it was factual but the way that DL uses them would seem to support that.

AA used the MD80 on much longer stage lengths like DFW-SEA and ORD-PDX where there was most certainly a disadvantage vs. a 738.



American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, America West Airlines, USAFR
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24803 posts, RR: 22
Reply 12, posted (12 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 12344 times:

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 7):
Quoting einsteinboricua (Thread starter):
AA had 200+

Actually, 300+ at one point.

AA took delivery of 260 new MD-80s between 1983 and 1992, plus those inherited from TWA and any other sources.


User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (12 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 12330 times:

Quoting Flighty (Reply 10):
Really! IIRC I have been to 39k on DC-9 on MSP-ORD. This could be wrong but I do recall it.

MSP-ORD is a very different scenario (not to mention the dozen other variables that neither of you have told us) than what apodino may have been on.
The MD-90 has the exact same wing as the MD-80, therefor, the FACT is that if all other conditions are the same, it will perform/climb/cruise worse/slower/lower than an MD-80, which was already not a stellar altitude champ, compared to the 737NG and A320 which are newer and more capable.

The MD is still a fantastic airplane, and there are lots of things about the birds that I like better than the 737/320 series, but let's be honest about her shortcomings.


User currently offlinethreeifbyair From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 672 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (12 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 12304 times:

Quoting rivervisual (Reply 5):
Unless there was a specific MEL issue with that aircraft or the WX above 30000 feet to the service ceiling was worse there is no reason a MD-90 cannot fly above 30000 feet. I routinely fly the MD-90 and it has one of the better rides during bad weather. It may have it's issues but in the end it's a more fuel efficient MD-88 with more seats.

My understanding was that the MD-90 at MTOW can't climb above FL300 because it is simply too heavy. I had a SEA-MSP leg where we were at FL300 for most of the flight. Every seat was taken, lots of baggage, and not much of a tailwind that day.


User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (12 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 12286 times:

Quoting Flighty (Reply 10):
Really! IIRC I have been to 39k on DC-9 on MSP-ORD.

By the way, I looked it up; the max certificated cruise altitude of the MD-90 is 37,000, so you weren't at 39,000.

I can't imagine the MD-80 would be appreciably better. AA states the "typical" cruise is 33,000, though I don't know what max is.
I've cruised all the way from DFW to SMF at 28,000 feet. Fun ride.... ugh!

Back on topic, Delta invested in the MD-88 fleet a bit, with cabin refurbs and whatnot. AA (as usual) really let them go, only bothering to install more seats and take seats out as the MRTC program came and went.
So, I'm sure there are many other reasons, but Delta's MD-80's seem like they are up to the task of serving for a few more years, whereas AA's just sorta seem..... old.


User currently offlineWingtips56 From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 353 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (12 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 11964 times:

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 15):
I can't imagine the MD-80 would be appreciably better. AA states the "typical" cruise is 33,000, though I don't know what max is.
I've cruised all the way from DFW to SMF at 28,000 feet. Fun ride.... ugh!

I commuted (as a passenger) on that route weekly for 4 1/2 years, and later again for another 9 months. We were usually between 33,000 and 37,000, but there were occasions when we were lower for weather. Those flights were always full, so many times we cruised initially at 28,000 for an hour or so before climbing after burning off some weight. Fortunately SMF is only 27 feet above sea level, or we'd have had regular weight restrictions. (When we did have one, it was primarily due to extra fuel for DFW weather.)

I had read a couple of years ago that the MD-80 was the right economics for the DFW-West Coast runs (perhaps with the exception of SEA/YVR), so that SMF might be one of the last ones to see the 738. That may not be true, but the route is still scheduled only with the MD-80 through to next June.



Worked for WestAir, Apollo Airways, Desert Pacific, Western, AirCal and American Airlines
User currently offlineAcey559 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1522 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (12 months 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 11666 times:

I've been commuting DFW-ORD a lot recently (though not for much longer, thankfully) and I'm ALWAYS in the jumpseat. They typically tanker a lot of gas up to ORD because gas is cheaper at DFW and the flights are full all day every day. I don't think we've ever been above FL330 because the airplane is always restricted. I didn't think anything of it at first but I figured it was an airplane shortcoming after a while. Heavy pax and bags plus lots of fuel doesn't bode well for the MD-80 but it's a pretty short flight so it's never really an issue. I've always enjoyed the DC-9 series. A forward seat on the 2 side is one of the best seats around, in my opinion.

User currently offlineNWAROOSTER From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1064 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (12 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 11237 times:
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If I am not mistaken, Delta Air Lines has bought a few retired American Airlines MD-80s for parts.   

User currently offlineluckyone From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 2162 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (12 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 10934 times:

Quoting TheRedBaron (Reply 9):
I love Dc 9 platform !!! they are very nice in turbulence and provided I am not seated behind the wing

Behind the wing of a DC-9/Maddog is the only place I consistently get a queasy stomach on an aircraft, regardless of turbulence.


User currently offlineTrnsWrld From United States of America, joined May 1999, 917 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (12 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10513 times:

To the guy above who stated he has been to FL390 in a DC9....I'm not so sure about that. I have never once seen ANY DC9/MD80/MD90 variant above FL370. And even 370 is relatively rare for some of the MD80s. I'm a controller in Chicago and most DC9s that we still work usually cruise along at FL330 or FL340.

As for AA's MD80s, don't forget they also received most of the newest and last built MD series aircraft acquired from TWA. Infact in another thread I remember some people saying some of TWAs newest MD83s are newer than some of AA's 737-800 aircraft. So yes even though I would imagine Delta's MD88 fleet is overall younger, AA still has the newest ones out there.
I think they are all cool planes and its nice to see something still out there besides your typical one engine on each wing and conventional tail kinda plane.


User currently offlineasqx From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 614 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (12 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 10120 times:

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 18):
If I am not mistaken, Delta Air Lines has bought a few retired American Airlines MD-80s for parts.

So far there are two, N9302B and N9304C, both 1987 vintage TWA MD-83s. The rest of Delta's parts planes are ex-SAS MD-80s (mostly MD-82s with one MD-87) and two ex-Lion Air MD-90s.


User currently offlinetb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1576 posts, RR: 9
Reply 22, posted (12 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 9598 times:

Quoting Flighty (Reply 10):
Really! IIRC I have been to 39k on DC-9 on MSP-ORD. This could be wrong but I do recall it.
Quoting TrnsWrld (Reply 20):
To the guy above who stated he has been to FL390 in a DC9....I'm not so sure about that. I have never once seen ANY DC9/MD80/MD90 variant above FL370.

The DC9 service ceiling is FL350. Not sure if that includes the 80's.



Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlinepdx From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 33 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (12 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 9565 times:

AA has flown M80's PDX-DFW since (at least) 1986 and PDX-ORD since (at least) 1985 until they ceased ORD nonstop service years a go. Great to see them back in the ORD market twice a day with 738's! They show no signs of ending the M80 service to DFW. They're going strong with five M80 nonstops to DFW this summer. Would be nice to get some newer planes however.

User currently onlinelightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12877 posts, RR: 100
Reply 24, posted (12 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 8499 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Does anyone have stats on the JT8D? In particular engine operation hours per year (month/quarter would be great!) in chart form.

Quoting MIflyer12 (Reply 4):
DL tries to keep its MD-88s on shorter segments/lower daily utilization where the fuel penalty vs. a 738 or A320 is smaller.

   Lower utilization also to only fly them at peak demand times/days. If an aircraft is going to sit, they must be depreciated. DL is pursuing a very G4 like strategy where the aircraft are parked.

The issue for DL is that the flying cost of an MD-80 is now bettered by a used A319 or A320 in that strategy. I'm aware DL's A319 CASM isn't so hot, but that is lease costs and configuration.

The other downside is the cost/revenue benefit is partially due to low utilization. If the economy improves quickly, DL will be at a disadvantage due to high variable costs. In some ways, that is the bet AA made.

The other bet AA made was thinking about what the MD-80 maintenance costs would be like if the economies of scale became poor. In effect, a reality DL will see in a few years. For example, as JT8D overhauls decline, there will initially be a reduction in overhaul costs (more used parts available), but then prices will rise as there will be no longer be shops dedicated to JT8D overhaul and the amazing efficiency that produces. So that will be high per cycle costs.

We're not there yet... but give it a few years.

Quoting finnishway (Reply 2):
Why Delta don't get rid of them so fast? They have many aircraft, own maintenance company and they can even scrap some planes for spare parts. This works well for Delta at least for now.

DL is also trying to control capitol costs. Why so tight? I have no idea, perhaps it is to maintain bond ratings. But even Allegiant is seeing used A319s/A320s have lower costs due to fuel savings. As the economy improves and demand grows enough, DL will start replacing the MD-80s.

I'm not betting on a big drop in oil prices as that reduces the incentive to frack which will drive up the prices pretty quick.

Lightsaber



Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.
25 Grisee08 : Same with the Boeing 717... Although most of the flights I've been on have cruised between FL310 and FL330 I remember reading somewhere how NW's DC9-
26 FlyASAGuy2005 : Shorter segments, yes. Lower daily utilization, definately not. The 88s average 5 segments a day which is the very top of the scale right now for the
27 wedgetail737 : I'm sure you all remember that DL used the MD-88's extensively between DFW and the smaller cities along the west coast like DFW-OAK, DFW-SJC, etc. be
28 brilondon : I have seen that as well. Looking on airfleets.net would show that the first 737-800 was delivered back in 1999 and the youngest MD 80 was delivered
29 SESGDL : That is incorrect. The last MD-83 was indeed delivered to TW in 1999. And while nearly all AA 737-800s are newer than their MD-83s, there are a few t
30 brilondon : This statement was incorrect on my part, as I had been travelling too much and actually not meant to post that.
31 msp747 : Back in the 90's, NW used to run its DC9-30's out west all of the time from MSP. BOI and BIL are two airports I recall seeing them at, and I know you
32 Viscount724 : AC operated their large fleet of DC-9-32s (and their 6 original DC-14s operated temporarily pending delivery of the -32s) extensively on routes that
33 Post contains images Flighty : But, the MD80 certification was originally 41k according to a.net posters. Then it was changed... The 727-200 was certified to 42k.... maybe that was
34 brilondon : I was speaking about before they were retired from the DL fleet a few years ago not last century, I have no idea about now or in the distant past.
35 PSU.DTW.SCE : AA has had a much larger and much older MD80 fleet than DL. Is AA going to retire their MD80 fleet much if any earlier than DL? Indications are that m
36 TrijetsRMissed : DL’s MD-88 fleet is generally superior in performance and operating costs, when compared to AA. The MD-88s have all of the final upgrades that were
37 727forever : I'm sorry to say, FL300 is a typical max altitude for the MD-90 if fuel and carrying extra fuel. Even the MD-80 if fuel and topped off will be limite
38 TrijetsRMissed : Not anymore. DL's fleet is 2/3rds the size of AA and about equal if you include the MD-90s. A far cry from when AA nearly tripled DL. As for age, AA
39 Grisee08 : Yep, That's it.. Thank you! What is the difference between a DC9-34 wing and DC9-32 wing? I never understood that, and wondered why they didn't just
40 Viscount724 : The wings are the same size, but (if Wikipedia is correct) the DC-9-33 and -34 had the "wing incidence increased 1.25 degrees to reduce cruise drag."
41 LAXintl : Regarding the utilization levels, both AA and DL fly their MD-80s for almost identical hours annually. 2012 DOT Form 41 shows utilization levels. DL a
42 Post contains images NWAROOSTER : The 717 is basically the same size as a DC-9-40 which is shorter than the MD-80 or MD-90. Therefore it doe not need as large a wing as the MD80/90.
43 727forever : While true the 717 is basically the size of the -40, the larger wing wouldn't have hurt except for that pesky additional weight. Imagine how efficien
44 Post contains images threeifbyair : At which point we'll start having the bimonthly "When will DL retire the MD-88?" threads... On a related note, why did AA (or was it TW - whichever a
45 PSU.DTW.SCE : Trade-off of optimizing the aircraft for shorter flights versus longer flights. With much of the shorter routes, the aircraft never needs to go that
46 MIflyer12 : My contention on utlization isn't that AA uses MD-80s less than DL uses MD-88s, but that DL uses MD-88s daily less than it does 738s. The MD-88s get
47 maxpower1954 : Well, that's incorrect as well. The 707-320 series and all DC-8s were certified to 42,000 ft. I flew them both well before 1980.
48 tb727 : The 727 is certified to 42,000 as well, you won't catch me going up there in one, but it is certified to it. I am surprised at the lack of performanc
49 AT : I will be sad to see the MD80 series leave American, and then Delta. I love them for shorter hops, and the 3 x 2 (or 2 x 3 in AA) allows for great sea
50 LAXintl : That statement is true for both AA and DL. 738s were utilized significantly more versus the M80.
51 maxpower1954 : No. The arm (distance from the center line to the seats) is very short. The effect on lateral balance is inconsequential. Now if you moved those rows
52 Post contains images Flighty : Note, turn times are not included in utilization. In a "15 hour day," the 737 will get more flight hours on it because of longer trips, fewer turns.
53 tommy767 : M80: AA has nicer seats and F class, DL has nicer ambiance (cabin lights, bathrooms, etc.)
54 American 767 : And if you add to that the 717s that are coming up, don't know how many but quite a few for sure, the combined DC-9/MD-80 derivatives fleet at DL wil
55 Post contains images lightsaber : Is Wikipedia correct in that the average age of the MD-80 fleet at delta is 22 years? Still lower than B6's utilization. Ok, you have a valid point. T
56 Post contains images TrijetsRMissed : That's correct; as they were developed after the DC-9-40, which has the same wing incidence. A DC-9-34 is basically a DC-9-32 with the DC-9-40's aero
57 Post contains images TrijetsRMissed : I consulted closely with MDC during the time of the MD-90's development. Mgmt's goal for the MD-90 was to get the best ROIC by the most efficient mea
58 Post contains images Deltal1011man : but this risk is reduced by Delta because, generally, the bulk of the 219s and its respectable parts are done in house. IIRC TechOps doesn't have any
59 Post contains links and images TrijetsRMissed : The late-build MD-83s do have the MD-88's EFIS flight-deck. They are MD-88ERs, through-in-through. View Large View MediumPhoto © Peter Spence
60 maxpower1954 : If it's certified for 42.000, it's certified for 42,000 regardless of passenger, cargo or operator. I routinely flew the DC-8-62 at 390 on South Amer
61 Dalmd88 : As others have stated the DL MD88 fleet is still getting HMV's I don't think there are many lines in work during this summer season, but that should
62 LAXintl : And when did anyone say it was? Utilization = block hours.
63 Post contains images tb727 : I love it. That's the way I like to see airlines operate. Now if they would just call me...
64 TheRedBaron : Dont know why the sad face? AM had a very large fleet of MD´s and they had them for 3 decades, so they know MX very well.... and surely it must be c
65 mia305 : I've always wondered why DL kept thers longer than AA. It would be nice to see AA keep there's as long as DL. It would also be nice to see fly them re
66 tommy767 : DL negotiated the M88 leases when they were in BK in the mid 2000s. Don't forget, DL has the -88's which can operate profitably on short sectors (lik
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