I'm a little surprised that AA
will be using the Embrears on MDW
, but it could be that there aren't enough MD
-80s to go around, and there are routes that are better able to fill the MD
As for why AA
is retiring the Fokker, there are several reasons.
Although the plane is very reliable, mechanics don't like to work on them. They just are not as easy to service and repair as Boeings, the A300s, and the MD
-80s. Also, since Fokker went bankrupt, parts and customer support have been very difficult.
Scheduling hates them, because their MLW is low compared to their MTOW. The Fokkers were bought with the plan to fly short routes like ORD
. Instead, they wound up flying routes like ORD
Some flight attendants aren't fond of the plane, because there is no rear hatch or stairs, unlike the MD
-80 and 727. And since it seats less than 100 passengers, AA
only puts 2 F/As aboard. So one F/A has to work the coach section alone. On a full plane, that's 79 passengers to serve drinks. With 2 F/As on a MD
-80, 2 F/As spilt 115 coach passengers.
The plane does have its good points. The pilots love flying the Fokker, and it's incredibly fuel efficient. Before MRTC, if the plane had 35 to 40 passengers with a decent revennue yield, it broke even. So, a plane that was half full made a good profit, and a full plane made an incredible amount of money.