I take offense to the "DC-9s are gas guzzlers comment"!!!
If they were such gas guzzlers, why would NW
be so content to keep them?
Granted, they burn more fuel than newer types, but they must not be THAT bad.
And, the MD
-80 is said to burn less fuel that the 737-800, by merit of its lighter weight. It won't hold as many people, true.
So, I don't think that one can make a sweeping statement that "DC-9s are gas guzzlers."
As far as winglets, someone pointed out that most of them aren't flying long flights. Well, that's true for the most part. But, Northwest is bringing -9s in to Dallas from Detroit and Memphis, and maybe MSP
American is flying their nearly 400-strong MD
-80 fleet on long flights: Dallas to Seattle (about 4 hours), Dallas to DCA
, Boston, et cetera. So I think the advantages of winglets would be realized in these applications.
Particularly when we consider the weaknesses of the MD
-80 are its wings. The MD
-80 is known for having to burn off fuel to before it can climb up to the mid 30s. On a recent flight from California to DFW
(also over three hours), our MD
-80 cruised at FL290 for an hour before climbing up to FL330, and the captain explained that we had to burn fuel before we could reach our final cruising altitude.
SO- I think winglets would help, and I think American would be a prime customer. Heck, they could be the only customer, and the project would still be worthwhile, with 360 of the of the bloomin' things.
And really, no matter how INefficient the plane may be, if you can save 5% on your fuel burn, that's 5%. Come to think of it, 5% translate to MORE fuel saved on an inefficient plane than on an efficient one:
Let's say the MD
-80 burns 3000 pounds per hour.
3000 X .05 = 150 pounds SAVED.
Now let's say the 737-700 burns 2800 pounds per hour.
2800 X .05 = 140 pounds SAVED.
Have a good Wednesday.