[The DC-9 fleet] underwent a major rebuild program starting in 1997 ...
commited to the DC-9 in 1994 when they purchased nearly 75 used birds (mostly from the former Midway, but also a handful that hadn't found new operators since EA
went bust) ... I think the rebuild program began shortly after that because all of the DC-9s have the "thin" seats that NW
had abandoned by 1998.
But they're not going to last after 2010 ... small wonder why NW wants more A319's and possibly more Mesaba-flown CRJ700's. This also may be the opportunity for NW to look at the Boeing 717-200 or Embraer 190 to replace a good portion of the NW DC-9 fleet after 2007.
One has to remember that NW
purchased more than 100 used DC-9s in the early to mid-90s, and then spent millions rebuilding them... Their investment has paid off -- the DC-9 fleet is maintenance friendly (in fact, it's the second-most maintenance friendly fleet type behind the A319) and NW
has a near-unlimited supply of spares... these birds are clearly here for the long-run.
fully intends on replacing the DC-9 with a combination of RJ
and A319. At MEM
proposed that 60
gates be renovated to accomodate RJs. From TW
), USA - Michigan">DTW
, they're flying A319 on short-hops (e.g. CLE
, etc.). In 2000, NW
was leaning toward purchasing US's fleet and deliveries of A319/A320/A321 + leases/obligations at PHL
after the UA
-US merger was approved. The lease on virtually every ARJ expires in 2007 -- at that point NW
will likely return them in favor of the CRJ-700 ... their union contracts prohibit them from operating more than 36 RJs that seat 69-pax, so we'll see if they get rid of that clause.
I doubt you'll ever see NW
purchase the 928JET (too risky) or EMB17X/19X (it's reported that talks between NW
and Embraer got very ugly when NW
was looking at the ERJ). The B717 is doubtful as well ... It's reported NW
refused to "test fly" two B717 and wasn't interested in a package deal that would've given them the former TW
birds for cheap. I'd put my money on the A318 if NW
were to purchase a 100-seater ... I'm told the a.net story about the A318 and gates at TW
), USA - Michigan">DTW
is a myth, not really into technical aspects so I'm not sure myself.
However, the DC-9 is here to stay!