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Was The Md11 A Miss?

Tue May 02, 2000 12:59 am

Was the Md11 a huge miss?
It seems to me that all airlines thet opperates the Md11 will get rid of them and sell them to cargo opperators.
Has the Md11 lost the match against the a330 and 777?

Tg 747-300
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RE: Was The Md11 A Miss?

Tue May 02, 2000 1:10 am

The MD11 is being phased out of production. No further orders are being taken. I think this was determined even before Boeing bought MD.
An unexamined life isn't worth living.

RE: Was The Md11 A Miss?

Tue May 02, 2000 1:41 am

The faith of the MD-11 was chosen by Boeing due to close competion with their own 777. But they saw potential in its cargo ability, so Lufthansa Cargo were the last airlines to buy the MD-11F.

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RE: Was The Md11 A Miss? - YES

Tue May 02, 2000 2:40 am

A lot of airlines that operate the MD-11 are getting rid of them. FedEx though is buying most of them so it must be a great cargo plane.

From a passenger point of view, i am glad the MD-11 is being replaced by the 777. I find the 777 much more comforatable then the MD-11.
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What Will Varig Do?

Tue May 02, 2000 3:22 am

VARIG recently sold two of tis 747-200's to Atlas Air, two 747s that had been taken out of service anyway and were just sitting at Rio.

For all intensive purposes, VARIG's only long range widebodiesare MD-11s (they have a few 767s used to MIA, ORD, and Spain).

Why are they retaining use of an aircraft that is slated to be phased out? Seems like it would make more sense to acquire 767s (-200s and -300s), to replace them.

Not all who wander are lost....

RE: Was The Md11 A Miss?

Tue May 02, 2000 3:56 am

Unfortunately the MD-11 is overlooked in so many ways. True the early versions did not meet performance expectations thus souring its reputation, however these problems were addressed. One advantage the MD-11 has over comparable wide body aircraft is solid durability. The aircraft frame is built very rugged and can take much more abuse thus making an excellent freighter.
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RE: Was The Md11 A Miss?

Tue May 02, 2000 4:04 am

Varig has some 777s on order. They are retaining the MD-11s for now, they do their job well for Varig. SO until the 777s arrive, and when they have the money to pay for them, the MD-11s will stay. They probably have better economics now, in bad times, than their old 747-200s.

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Swissair, Boeing, And Deutsche Lufthansa

Tue May 02, 2000 4:14 am

swissair now operates the MD-11 as their head-honcho aircraft along with the A330 as they no longer have 747s in their fleet. This is the only example I know of of the MD-11 'leading' a fleet, though I think they will keep the A330 a LONG time more than the MD-11

Boeing stopped taking orders for the -11 before the merger, and the last MD-11 will be a freighter (about half of them are) for Lufthansa,

it will be delivered this year, whereupon there will be no further ships built.

This is not the aircaft itself, but this will be what the last MD-11 will look like just months from now:

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Michael Carter

This is the first ever MD-11 built:

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Photo © AirNikon

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RE: Was The Md11 A Miss?

Tue May 02, 2000 4:38 am

I read somewhere some time ago that even Swissair sold all their MD-11's to FedEx for gradual hand-over over the next few years. Replacements are new A330/340's.
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RE: Swissair, Boeing, And Deutsche Lufthansa

Tue May 02, 2000 4:57 am

All 19 Md11s of swissair have been sold to FedEx. They are scheduled to leave the fleet from 2002-2006. 20 A 340-600s will replace these aircraft. Probably also some A340-500s.


RE:Varig MD-11 To Gemini

Tue May 02, 2000 7:35 am

Gemini Air Cargo that operates in MIA has bought 3 MD-11 from Varig, their fleet was all DC-10 and now they are starting to get this ex-passengers MD-11, I don't think that Atlas air got any of them. From what i saw here at MIA was the new Atlas air 747-400 in delivery flight from boeing. So Varigs MD-11 are going to Gemini, they sure make a great cargo aiplane.

RE:What About Vasp's 8 MD-11?

Tue May 02, 2000 7:39 am

Well, Vasp just had to give back 4 of them due to lack of payments to the lease, and now they anouced that the ramaining 4 will be put out of service on may 15, cancelling all their intrnational flights, except the ones they fly with the airbus. So who will get those 8 MD-11?

RE: Was The Md11 A Miss?

Tue May 02, 2000 10:07 am

The MD-11 was hardly a miss, in fact it's a very good a/c, but it was doomed by several factors. It failed to meet performance expectations early on in several categories, and MD, perhaps unwisely, stuck with a 3-engine higher-maintenance design in a period when engines were being developed to the point where the MD-11 could have only used 2, and been a viable 777/A330/340 competitor.
The MD-11 suffered from the same thing the MD-90 did, and that was MD's urgent need to get an airliner out on the market. Most anyone would say that, given more development time, the MD-11 and MD-90 would have been much better a/c, however MD was desperately low on funds and needed to throw something out on the market ASAP.
A "Boeingized" MD-11 with 2 engines and some modifications would conceivably be a good seller, however it would interfere with Boeing's own 767/777 product line.
I still wish the MD-20 (Was it still called that?) 757 competitor had been put out- it could've had success against the A321 and 757.
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RE: Was The Md11 A Miss?

Mon May 15, 2000 2:52 pm

Unfortunately, the MD11 and MD90 aircraft, which were the last designs issued by MD, illustrated a once-successful philosophy which was failing them. MD had had a group of very loyal customers who purchased almost everything that they issued. These included American, SAS, Swissair, KLM, Iberia, Alitalia and many others. On the basis of that, plus the success of the DC-10, they went ahead with the derivative which became the MD11. It is also significant to note that MD was ahead of the field in offering the MD11 as neither Boeing nor Airbus had a 300-350 seat airliner available and, by deriving it fom the DC-10, MD felt that it could keep its lead on the pack.

So said, so done. What they did not bargain for was American's 1990 disappointment over the MD11's performance which threw a spanner at their optimism. Meanwhile, Boeing and Airbus started taking orders for their all-new craft, 777 and A330/340, respectively. These planes represented all-new philosophies towrds aircraft design which made MD11 seem dated indeed.

Airbus on the one hand went for a wing and fuselage which could be adapted to 2 types - namely a twin for medium range flights (A330) and an ultra-long ranger quadjet (A340). By doing so airlines could purchase both variants and thus effectively upgrade their entire extended range fleets with one type of plane. Boeing meanwhile went for enormously powerful engines which propelled the 777 to great ranges with huge payloads. By careful design of wings and engine selection, Boeing has also been able to stretch the 777 considerably to the -300. Both Airbus and Boeing went for fly-by-wire, which MD never offered.

As such, MD11 represented a last-ditch fling of a dying concept, namely that of the trijet. With engines being so advanced nowadays, 2 could easily do what 3 were needed for before with much less fuel consumption. Only for the really long-ranged planes are 4 engines needed and these planes are easier to maintain than trijets, which have engines buried in the fuselage or tail.

As a result of all of this, the MD11 is being dropped by airlines in favour of the newer craft. FedEx will certainly buy the majority of the planes and, along with a few other airlines, will ensure that they have long service lives as freighters. Perhaps that is one benefit of MD11 being a DC10 derivative, namely excellence in the freighter mode. Since they are new and relatively modern, they could cause DC10F/MD10 values to plummet. Alas, in so saying this is indeed the end for the MD11.
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RE: Was The Md11 A Miss?

Mon May 15, 2000 4:53 pm

Why does this subject keep popping up over and over again?

Someone speculated that Swissair is the only airline having the MD-11 as the flagship aircraft of their fleet. Not true: Finnair, the launch customer that made the first ever revenue flight with the type (OH-LGA, still in service of course) in December 1990 from Helsinki to the Canary Islands, does indeed have the MD-11 as their flagship. In fact, it's been their ONLY type of widebody for some years now.

And they're quite happy with the aircraft, too. OH-LGA and -LGB (and, I heard, -LGC just recently) have gone through a cabin-refurbishing with new seats and PTVs in Business and a 3-4-2 (am I right?) seating configuration in Economy. I don't know about any plans to go for another one or two aircraft, although I definitely believe they could use them. Maybe demand for used MD-11s with cargo operators is so high that they're hard to get and expensive, or maybe Finnair just doesn't need more.

Or maybe they don't think it's worth it since the choice of their next widebody type is just behind the corner anyway, to be made in a couple of years. Still, we'll see the blue-cross-on-white tailed MD-11s around for another ten years. Who knows, maybe the company that took the first delivery of this beautiful aircraft will also be the last one to carry passengers with it... (But hopefully in the new livery one day?)

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RE: Was The Md11 A Miss?

Mon May 15, 2000 4:59 pm

I don't know if it was a miss or not but it is a BEAUTIFUL aircraft!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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RE: Was The Md11 A Miss?

Tue May 16, 2000 3:49 am

It's my favourite plane! I will miss it so much when it leaves SR in 2006! 

Jeremiah Teahan
Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
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RE: Was The Md11 A Miss?

Tue May 16, 2000 4:18 am

I have flown many times on the SR MD 11. Like Teahan I will miss them very much. It's a great airliner.
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RE: Was The Md11 A Miss?

Tue May 16, 2000 10:22 am

It is sad that Boeing is shutting down the MD-11 line because I am convinced that it could have racked up considerable sales as a middle aircraft between the 767 and the 747 freighters. And it was allready developed so the development costs would have been....none....

I only found out about the Gemini MD-11's last week when I saw one of them taxing on 6R past my window at work. It definatly wasn't expected.


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