Right. We know that the fleet has been retired. However, in reading press from DL
, reports from market analysts, and postings out here, it appears that DL
might be bringing them back.
The logic being much the same that keeps NWA's fleet of DC-9's flying. They are all paid for. Operating a plane that carries no leases costs or related debt, will dramatically reduce the overall operating cost of each flight that ship flies. So NWA flying 6 flights a day on a well aged DC9 costs less, and in broad strokes, produces more revenue than operating the same flights with the same loads on a brand new A320. I'm not trying to get into a discussion about where the A320 could go and where the DC9 could not go, in terms of legs. Only using it as an example, of why older aircraft that are paid off - are not necessarily bad choices for major airlines to operate. And lets call a spade a spade. The MD
-11s are not that old. They have glass cockpits and incorporate many of the next generation features seen in 777s. The long and the short of it is, if DL
gives back some 777s, and washes the dust of the MD
-11's, taking time to ensure that the cabin products meet current service levels, they should be able to operate very competitively - on a bottom line basis - compared to DL
's other long haul high density options.