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NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:51 am

Aviation Daily


Northwest To Ground 18% Of DC-9 Fleet, Cut Mechanics
03/18/2005 09:03:40 AM
By Steven Lott

Northwest plans to ground 24 DC-9s in addition to the six already targeted to stop flying this year, causing the loss of as many as 900 mechanic jobs in its hometown.

The airline told employees that its decision is due to record-high fuel prices, U.S. domestic overcapacity and fare competition. As of Feb. 14, NW was operating 166 DC-9s, according to the Airclaims fleet database, and most had an average age of about 35 years. The aircraft, all owned, have been reliable but are inefficient gas-guzzlers.

Because it plans to ground about 18% of the DC-9 fleet, NW will close one heavy maintenance check line at Minneapolis/St. Paul, eliminating 130 mechanic jobs by May. The decision also will result in the closing of two maintenance lines operated by San Antonio Aerospace.

While the timing is still being worked out, NW warned that about 700-800 additional Minneapolis-based mechanic jobs could be cut.

Aviation Week, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
 
elwood64151
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:54 am

I'm betting that the smallest, oldest DC-9s are the ones being grounded. That allows them to keep the larger aircraft so they can spread the cost of fuel over more passengers.

p.s. PLEASE DO NOT TURN THIS INTO A NW DC-9 REPLACEMENT THREAD!!!
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
NW7E7
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 1:03 am

Does anybody know how many A319/A320 aircraft they have coming this year? Looks like they will have to cut some flights!
 
iowaman
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 1:13 am

Quoting NW7E7 (Reply 2):
Does anybody know how many A319/A320 aircraft they have coming this year? Looks like they will have to cut some flights!

I believe they have a few A319/A320 coming thi year, but not many. A lot of cities with DC-9's now will be replaced with CRJ's.
 
DAL767400ER
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 1:15 am

Quoting Elwood64151 (Reply 1):
PLEASE DO NOT TURN THIS INTO A NW DC-9 REPLACEMENT THREAD!!!

No need to do so anyway, as this news release indicates that for most of them there won't be a replacement at all  Wink .
Not that surprising that NW is retiring DC-9s. Sure they are well-maintained and paid for, but at the same time NW has overcapacity and the DC-9s are fuel guzzlers, so it's perfect sense to retire them.
 
goboeing
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 1:21 am

There are two A-320s and ten A-319s yet to be delivered.

Nick
 
NWAFA
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 1:22 am

Some of the DC9's are already parked. It is just being included in that number...still don't like to hear that!
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PHLBOS
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 1:27 am

Quoting Elwood64151 (Reply 1):
I'm betting that the smallest, oldest DC-9s are the ones being grounded.

I believe the DC-9-10s (a.k.a. Baby 9s) have already been retired; which leaves NW's current DC-9 fleet consisting of a mixture of -30/40/50s. That being said, it will probably be the oldest ones of the fleet (regardless of type) being grounded/retired.
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
A350
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 1:27 am

It is a step to finish the paradox situation that the USA aviation market has huge overcapacities on one hand but sees operations of extremely old a/c like the 35 years old DC-9 on the other hand. It's just normal. However, I'm sorry for the people who lose their jobs.

A350
 
ltbewr
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 1:30 am

From this press release, it seems that their schedule of ending the use of the DC-9's has been speeded up not just to high fuel usage, but also to cut out the specific mechanics and facilities needed to maintain them. I am quite sure these DC-9's require more frequent maintainence than their much younger RJ's, A-319's and better fit the pax demands. I would also suspect that higher fuel costs and maintaince of them vs. the RJ's has be figured by the bean counters to tip the balance into removing them from the fleet. While I am sad to see these proud birds grounded, business reality has done them in. I just hope this ends the NW DC-9 threads  Wink
 
Flaps
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:04 am

Age wont necessarily determine which ones go first. It will be the maintenence schedule that makes that decision. Those coming due for heavy maintenance checks will be the first out.
 
slider
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:10 am

This is a heck of an appetizer for the upcoming AMFA negotiations.

I'll go on record right now and say that the mechanics' negotiations will get stupid.
 
elwood64151
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:12 am

Quoting A350 (Reply 8):
It is a step to finish the paradox situation that the USA aviation market has huge overcapacities on one hand but sees operations of extremely old a/c like the 35 years old DC-9 on the other hand

It's not a paradox. Those aircraft are paid for. NW didn't need to spend money to replace them because they worked well enough. Sure they were gas-guzzlers, but they weren't mortgaged like their new aircraft almost certainly are. That allowed NW to keep cash in its pockets at a time of deep financial stress.

Quoting Flaps (Reply 10):
It will be the maintenence schedule that makes that decision. Those coming due for heavy maintenance checks will be the first out.

I hadn't thought of that, but you are likely correct.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
PVD757
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:20 am

As of last summer NW had 8 DC9-14/15's (none parked), 113 DC9-31/32 (10 parked and 11 are leased), 12 DC9-41 (none parked, only 1 leased) and 35 DC9-51 (all owned with 3 parked). I'm sure the -10's and anything parked or leased will be part of this retirement (that would only equal 23), whereas some of the oldest remaining ships or ones due up for heavy mx will account for the rest.
 
BR715-A1-30
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 4:03 am

Actually, IMO, I would think they would drop the -40s and -50s first since they have MORE -30s, they can save on Fleet Commonality there... But that is just my  twocents 
Puhdiddle
 
A350
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 4:39 am

Quoting Elwood64151 (Reply 12):
It's not a paradox. Those aircraft are paid for. NW didn't need to spend money to replace them because they worked well enough

I was speaking about the macro-economical situation, not about the micro-economical one. It IS paradox when DC-9s are operated and A320s sit in the dessert. However, it was very wise from NW not to order too many planes during the boom but to order them NOW, after the boom. The result, however, is still that the old birds are going to the dessert and the A320s, T7s etc. come back.

A350
 
PHLBOS
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 4:49 am

Quoting A350 (Reply 15):
The result, however, is still that the old birds are going to the dessert and the A320s, T7s etc. come back.

I didn't know that NW flew T7s.  Confused
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
NLINK
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 5:09 am

There was a rumor that the 12 dc9-40 would be sold to ABX air. Not sure if there was any truth to that rumor though.
 
gigneil
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 5:12 am

Quoting BR715-A1-30 (Reply 14):
Actually, IMO, I would think they would drop the -40s and -50s first since they have MORE -30s, they can save on Fleet Commonality there...

They're all DC-9s. They're all common.

N
 
KarlB737
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 8:30 am

Courtesy: WCCO-TV - Mechanics Voicing Frustration With NWA

http://wcco.com/topstories/local_story_077123040.html


Video Report - Courtesy: WCCO-TV

http://wccoimg.dayport.com/htm/wcco4player.htm?Art_ID=5914


Video Report - Courtesy: KSTP-TV

http://kstp.dayport.com/viewer/viewerpage.php?Art_ID=161036
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 8:33 am

All the remaining DC-9-10's, 8 of them, were retired in January when the new RVSM regulations went into effect. A few -30's were retired then. The current active DC-9 fleet count is 151, with about 6-7 in storage in MZJ. These aircraft were to return to service this year, but will now be retired.
The 24 aircraft will not all be parked at once, it will be phased across the year as they become due for maintenance. Several will go by June, then more at the end of the busy summer season and throughout the fall. The problematic aircraft, ones that become due for maintenance, damaged a/c will go first.

There will not be a large-scale conversion of routes over to the Airlinks. NW can still maintain most of its narrowbody flying by increasing utilization of its existing aircraft. There has been slack in the DC-9 fleet for a while now, and there is room to increase Airbus utilization too. I believe 6 new A319/A320 are coming online this year. Along with another 18 or CRJ's to be delivered by fall. You won't likely see any city lose mainline flying, but certain frequencies throughout the day will be adjusted to match capacity with demand. Thus some CRJ's & Avro's may show up in some places.

Slider,
The AMFA negotiations are already getting stupid. Check out this press release issued today:
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/050318/northwest_layoffs_2.html

Hmm, coincidence on the timing, TIMCO over in Singapore has been used for years to maintain the DC-10 fleet, why now is it suddenly a problem?
This is going to be an all out war between these two sides, the gloves have already come off.

Not a good week for NW, first the JD Powers b.s. survey, then the capacity reductions, and now AMFA attempting to scare the public.....
 
keesje
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 8:38 am

Sad news for the 900 mechanics and their families, hopefully the market recovers quickly.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
redtailmsp
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:09 pm

As PSU, etc says, the number of aircraft being taken out of service per NWA's recent press release involves a gradual reduction as DC9s come up on heavy maint checks. There are currently several spare aircraft in the fleet being used as back-ups, so come the Fall, there will be less spares in DTW/MSP. There will be a seasonal reduction in flying in the Fall, so this is a logical time to take aircraft out of service. Look for a couple of 747-200s to be parked too as well as perhaps up to 6 total DC10's - although this number seems to fluctuate up and down frequently. Arrivals for this year are 3 A330-300s in May/July/Oct and I think 2 more A319s (there were already 2 new ones delivered in Feb 05). I think the timing of this announcement may well be a shot across the bows of AMFA - all the airlines seeking concessions drop hints or veiled threats about cutbacks, and NWA is no saint in this regard.
 
aviatortj
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:37 pm

Whatever happened to Dick getting rid of the DC-9-50s. In the middle of 2003, he was working to get those ones out of the fleet for whatever reason. It is quite obvious that it never went through, but what were the reasons for switching that around? Is it possible that Doug could have some tricks up his sleeve for future fleet planning, including removing a series of the nines such as a 40 (per reply 17) or a 50 since Dick had wanted to before?

-TJ
 
Tiger119
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 5:20 pm

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 9):
I just hope this ends the NW DC-9 threads

- Wanna bet this isn't the end of that?  Wink
Flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind, landing is the first!
 
BEG2IAH
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 8:23 pm

NW is getting rid of its DC-9s? Air France's planes look cleaner on the latest pictures uploaded to A.Net. We won't have anything to talk about pretty soon.

BEG2IAH
Aviation is not so much a profession as it is a disease.
 
access-air
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 10:29 pm

As Elwood54151 said,

"It's not a paradox. Those aircraft are paid for. NW didn't need to spend money to replace them because they worked well enough. Sure they were gas-guzzlers, but they weren't mortgaged like their new aircraft almost certainly are. That allowed NW to keep cash in its pockets at a time of deep financial stress."

Had UA kept their 727-200s 737-200 and AA their 727-200s and Delta their 727-200s and USair their DC9s and Md-80s and ATA their 727-200s a little longer, maybe they wouldn't be roller skating on the edge of a toilet seat like they all seem to be. They all had large enuff fleets of owned aircraft here to keep from having to make horrendously high lease payments on new planes. Its like a credit card bill that keeps getting bigger each month....and all they are paying is the interest and nothing towards the principal..
Whatever genious that has duped airlines into thinking that they are getting such a deal by leasing (and not to own by the way) has an evil little mind...LOL. However soon that idea will backfire and he will be stuck with hundreds of airplanes and no one to lease them.....Its all a proverbial pissing contest to see who has the biggest and the newest things.
One of these days if not already the employees of these great airlines will be scratching their heads wondering why they didn't hold onto some of their owned and older planes a little longer just to get them thru the hard financial times.
As for Northwest's, DC9's I am hoping they don't retire all the 50s all at once...or the 40's. I need to get on a 40 series yet and would love to fly on a few more 50s. I guess I better get my butt in gear.

Cheers, Access-Air
Remember, Wherever you go, there you are!!!!
 
NWADC9
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 11:26 pm

Quoting BEG2IAH (Reply 25):
NW is getting rid of its DC-9s?

They have been for a while.
Flying an aeroplane with only a single propeller to keep you in the air. Can you imagine that? -Capt. Picard
 
flyabunch
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sat Mar 19, 2005 11:58 pm

I'll tell you, I am sure not seeing the so-called over capacity on any of my routes. 24 flights so far this year and all full or near full. Four flights this past week. Three of them had announcements for oversold condition. All on CO.

Mike
 
whitehatter
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sun Mar 20, 2005 12:21 am

Quoting Access-Air (Reply 26):
Had UA kept their 727-200s 737-200 and AA their 727-200s and Delta their 727-200s and USair their DC9s and Md-80s and ATA their 727-200s a little longer, maybe they wouldn't be roller skating on the edge of a toilet seat like they all seem to be

Do you really not understand the ramifications of the oil price issue? Here's a clue. You won't be seeing oil under fifty dollars a barrel again, any capacity in the market gets swallowed by China.

Secondly aged airframes require more maintenance, replacement parts and people to bolt them on. Running costs are much higher on a thirty year old aircraft than a three year one.

Northwest had extended life in their aircraft because they invested in heavy refurbs or bought good quality in the aftermarket. Other airlines had life expired junkers. Are you seriously trying to say an aircraft built when oil was under twelve dollars a barrel is now worth operating at nearer sixty, with fares at an all time low? Junkers which are either at or beyond their projected airframe life and guzzling money in MX? That's madhouse economics.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
MidnightMike
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sun Mar 20, 2005 1:43 am

Quoting A350 (Reply 8):
It is a step to finish the paradox situation that the USA aviation market has huge overcapacities on one hand but sees operations of extremely old a/c like the 35 years old DC-9 on the other hand. It's just normal. However, I'm sorry for the people who lose their jobs.


Not everybody will lose their jobs, there will be transfers and others may simply retire, if they are old enough...
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BEG2IAH
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RE: NWA To Drop 24 DC-9's

Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:07 am

NWADC9,

Do you think I was serious?  Smile

BEG2IAH
Aviation is not so much a profession as it is a disease.