zchannel
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AA MD-80 And 727's

Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:01 am

I had a question about the roles of American's 727's and their MD-80's. American placed their orders for the MD-80 in the mid 80's, IIRC, and kept their 727's around until after the turn of the century. Now, after comparing the specs of both aircraft from the data provided on this website, it seems the two planes are very similar in terms of capacity and range. Was the MD-80 brought on to eventually supplement to 727 (which doesn't seem all that feasible since the two planes operated side by side for around 15 years or so), or did AA have them performing different missions? Thanks for the responses...
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Tan Flyr
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RE: AA MD-80 And 727's

Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:25 am

The MD 80's were originally offered on a trial basis..give them a try for a year (or whatever it was).if you don't like them, return them..no charge. McDonnel Douglas was pretty sure that AA and others would love the plane once they flew it.
Well, they were right, Bob Crandall saw the MD-80 and its two man- two engine economics as a great way to expand the airline. Now he did couple it with a new two tiered pay scale at the time, but that is another thread .

Long Story short, he drove a hard bargain with McDonnel and basicly got every third aircraft for free. Once the expansion of the SJC/RDU/BNA hubs was complete with new aircraft then the 727-023's were retired by the mid- 90's with MD-80's taking over those routes or 727-223's shuffled in the schedules. I believe AA took all the options they had contracted for with MD.
If I recall correctly that total was 260 frames in grand total.

The 727-223's were going to phased out by 2006 anyway.but the events of 9-11 hastened that. In just a few months the 727's were done at AA.

The MD-80 is the workhorse now at AA and will be for sometime to come. Just as the 727 served from 1964 to 2001(or so) and was workhorse for AA in the 70's,80's and 90's..expect the MD80 to continue that tradition for the rest of this decade and probaly most of the next as well.

MD built tremendous utility and durability into those frames..expect AA to get every cycle, every hour out of that investment. Just like NW has done with the DC-9's (md-80 older brothers). Also look at the amount of Stretch-8's still in service in freight..Just a lot of life built into those frames.

Hope this helps you.
 
cloud4000
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RE: AA MD-80 And 727's

Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:27 am

Then how does the F100 purchase fit in? And the 738 order?
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contrails
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RE: AA MD-80 And 727's

Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:37 am

I was living in Ft. Worth in the late 70's, and I remember reading news articles about AA wanting a plane the size of the 727 but without the center engine. Robert Crandall wanted the 3rd. engine removed for fuel economy. AA actually flight tested a 727 with the center engine covered by a drogue shield (I'm not sure that's the correct term). I've seen pictures of it, it was a very wierd looking plane. Boeing, as I recall, wasn't too thrilled with the idea. AA dropped it, and not long afterwards the MD-80 came out.

Unless something has changed, AA owns more MD-80's than any other airline in the world. It's a solid plane, but it'll never look as good on rotation as a 727 did.
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Tan Flyr
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RE: AA MD-80 And 727's

Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:46 am

The Fokkers were bought in to fill the "100 seat" fleet requirement. AA lobbied and got a ruling from the FAA and was allowed to use the 100' in commuter slots at ORD. When that happened they started Jet service with the 100's to places like Peoria, Fargo, Rapid City..there were others to ORD. The 100's eventually filled a requirement for the "thinner" routes from DFW and ORD and also were worked into the schedule on heavily travelled routes for more frequency.


The 738's were originally the 727-200 replacement with greater range. The 727-200 could not do a transcon. It's normal limit was just under 2000 mi.

The 738's were also to open up "thinner" transcons such as BDL-LAX. Again the events of 9-11 caused the deck to be re-shuffled. All deferable deliverys from Boeing were deferred until later this decade. The 727's were grounded within a couple or 3 months. The airline shrank..quickly and substantially to as close to actual demand as possible.

While Crandall also got a great deal on the purchase of the F-100's..the bankruptcy of Fokker put the kabash on warranty support/ parts, etc.

The aircraft also ended up being a MX hog. As the "D" checks stared coming up the decision was made not to invest anymore into them. Now if IIRC, this decision was made after the TWA merger. Thus, as events unfolded there was more than enough additional MD-80's to handle the demand.

Yes, there still is a need for a 90-110 seat aircraft that could have been well served by the B717. Others can help you on why that decision was made. But someday, a new frame in that size will be in AA livery.
 
Tan Flyr
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RE: AA MD-80 And 727's

Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:47 am

Quoting Contrails (Reply 3):
Unless something has changed, AA owns more MD-80's than any other airline in the world. It's a solid plane, but it'll never look as good on rotation as a 727 did.

Amen!
 
zchannel
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RE: AA MD-80 And 727's

Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:58 am

Quoting TAN FLYR (Reply 1):
The MD-80 is the workhorse now at AA and will be for sometime to come. Just as the 727 served from 1964 to 2001(or so) and was workhorse for AA in the 70's,80's and 90's..expect the MD80 to continue that tradition for the rest of this decade and probaly most of the next as well.

Yes. It's getting to the point that I cannot fly anywhere domestically on AA anymore without setting foot on an MD-80 at some point.

Quoting TAN FLYR (Reply 4):
While Crandall also got a great deal on the purchase of the F-100's..the bankruptcy of Fokker put the kabash on warranty support/ parts, etc.

Unfortunate about the F-100. I kinda liked it. I was able to fly one late 2004 (MSP-ORD, and I actually reworked an already existing itinerary to do so) and soon thereafter I found out AA was phasing them out. I am glad on got to fly on one just once before they were gone for good, as no other US airline operates them anymore. Thanks for all the responses, people...
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N1120A
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RE: AA MD-80 And 727's

Sat Jan 28, 2006 3:48 am

Quoting TAN FLYR (Reply 4):
The aircraft also ended up being a MX hog. As the "D" checks stared coming up the decision was made not to invest anymore into them. Now if IIRC, this decision was made after the TWA merger



Quoting TAN FLYR (Reply 4):
Yes, there still is a need for a 90-110 seat aircraft that could have been well served by the B717. Others can help you on why that decision was made

At the time, the combined AA and TW had far more F100s than 717s and it was decided that AA would keep the Fokkers. When they realized that the F100s were just too expensive to maintain in the fleet, it was already too late and the 717s were all gone and the orders taken over by AirTran and others. If AA had decided the other way, the 717 line would still be open
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milesrich
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RE: AA MD-80 And 727's

Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:28 am

AA returned TW's 717 to the lessors because the lease rates were not advantageous, and the lessors were not willing to renegotiate.
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: AA MD-80 And 727's

Sun Jan 29, 2006 5:38 am

Quoting ZCHANNEL (Thread starter):
Was the MD-80 brought on to eventually supplement to 727

From what I recall reading when AA agreed to terms with McDD for MD-80 deliveries/options (almost 25 years ago!), the plan was indeed to supplement, not replace, their 727 fleet. Like most U.S. airlines (at least those in reasonably sound health) during the years immediately following deregulation, AA had plans for significant growth. It was AA's stated policy at the time that their post-deregulation growth would come from within, rather than through merger(s) and the MD-80 was the aircraft of choice for fulfilling their growth plans as it was easily the most efficient 150-seat aircraft available at the time of AA's order. The "sweet deal" they were able to negotiate with McDD simply clinched their choice. At about the same time when AA announced their plans to bring (a potentially huge number of) MD-80s into their fleet, another growth opportunity had also been handed to AA on a proverbial silver platter with the collapse of (the original) Braniff with whom AA had shared DFW as a primary hub.
 
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United_fan
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RE: AA MD-80 And 727's

Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:37 am

AA's 727's were retired in 2003. Then only operating out of MIA.
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CRFLY
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RE: AA MD-80 And 727's

Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:41 am

Remember that in 1991 AA took all the Latinamerican routes from EA, and they used primarily the 727-223 for this expansion, as most of their MD-80's are not "over water", which means they don't have life rafts and life vests (as they fly just domestically, they don't need them... plus they cost less I guess) and the 727 was a crucial airplane to start service out of Miami to Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela and the Caribbean...

AA made tons of money with the 727 on this routes, and although the airplane was expensive to operate (because of its 3 pilots and fuel), the plane had an amazing cargo capacity for small cities, which had little passenger traffic and high cargo volumes... I really miss the 722 =(
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