SELMER40
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Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:17 am

According to my calculation the last MD90 new to Delta has moved from VQQ to ATL. Is this correct? If it progresses like the previous plane it should go into scheduled service in about a week.
http://flightaware.com/live/airport/KVQQ/departure/airline
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AM777LR
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:44 am

I would suggest you change the title. I was under te impression DL was stopping MD-90 service to ATL.
 
MEA-707
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:26 am

Indeed the 65th MD-90, N951DN , has been delivered to Atlanta from VQQ. It's the last ex JAL aircraft they were to receive.
They will get more, ex Eva/Uni Airways frames later but this is the last one for a while.
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brilondon
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:35 pm

They are stopping the MD 90 from coming to ATL? Oh it is the last one from JAL, not the last one to be delivered. I was wondering where they will be predominantly flying?
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American 767
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:05 pm

Quoting brilondon (Reply 3):
I was wondering where they will be predominantly flying?

They are based in MSP. I am not sure there are any that fly out of ATL in regular scheduled service, I may be wrong about that, there are still a few MD-90 departures a day out of the SLC hub, but I know most of them fly out MSP.

Ben Soriano
Ben Soriano
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:26 pm

Quoting American 767 (Reply 4):
I am not sure there are any that fly out of ATL in regular scheduled service,


There are lots of MD90s operating out of ATL every day.
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ATLTPA
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:27 pm

Quoting American 767 (Reply 4):
They are based in MSP. I am not sure there are any that fly out of ATL in regular scheduled service, I may be wrong about that, there are still a few MD-90 departures a day out of the SLC hub, but I know most of them fly out MSP.

There are plenty of them flying out of ATL, too. I keep encountering MD-90s on my trips to Florida from ATL. They are becoming harder and harder to avoid, which is what I do. I am not a fan of the newer ones because of the Zodiac slimline seats, which are akin to sitting on a park bench because of their lack of padding.

Give me a 757 any day and all of that. Or better yet, the L1011s, DC-8-71s and 727s that DL used to fly on these routes. But then I digress...

ATLTPA
 
jgrantco
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:30 pm

There's an evening ATL to DEN MD-90 and I believe it is probably the same MD-90 that I take occasionally early morning from DEN back to ATL. I do like the MD-90 early morning to get into ATL before noon. Very nice ride.
 
jfk777
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:06 pm

Why does Delta love getting collections of oddball airplanes. MD-90 are the runt of a liter, when every airline is getting rid of Mad Dogs Delta is adding them.
 
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coronado
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:23 pm

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 8):
Why does Delta love getting collections of oddball airplanes. MD-90 are the runt of a liter, when every airline is getting rid of Mad Dogs Delta is adding them

Take a look at Delta's Financial Results and the answer should be obvious.

A fuel efficient 160 pax aircraft that has 20 years in additional useful life, that was purchased for about 10% of the cost of a new build 738. Not exactly rocket science. Plus Delta has the expertise to maintain them like no one else in the world.
The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
 
PGNCS
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:24 pm

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 8):
Why does Delta love getting collections of oddball airplanes. MD-90 are the runt of a liter, when every airline is getting rid of Mad Dogs Delta is adding them.

Oh, I don't know...maybe because Delta is making a lot of money with them?  
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:25 pm

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 8):

Why does Delta love getting collections of oddball airplanes. MD-90 are the runt of a liter, when every airline is getting rid of Mad Dogs Delta is adding them.

Quite simply because of the price. They seat 160 pax just like a 738 but do so at a fraction of the cost. Operating expense is very close to that of a 738. If you don't need the 738 range, an MD90 works perfectly well and does so at a much lower cost.
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MesaFlyGuy
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:38 pm

Quoting American 767 (Reply 4):
They are based in MSP. I am not sure there are any that fly out of ATL in regular scheduled service, I may be wrong about that, there are still a few MD-90 departures a day out of the SLC hub, but I know most of them fly out MSP.

For today, I see:

ATL-MSY
ATL-ELP
ATL-TUS
ATL-MCI
ATL-BDL
ATL-PNS
ATL-VPS
ATL-RIC
ATL-DEN
ATL-ABQ
ATL-MSP
ATL-ORF
ATL-DAY
ATL-PHX (Fri & Sat)
ATL-MIA
ATL-DTW
ATL-ROC
ATL-BOS
ATL-JAX
ATL-TPA
ATL-DFW
ATL-IAH

among others. Hope this helps!!   
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premobrimo
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:48 pm

For today in MSP:

MSP-BOS
MSP-BWI
MSP-PDX
MSP-DTW
MSP-GEG
MSP-ATL
MSP-SAN
MSP-PHX
MSP-DEN
MSP-STL
MSP-GRR
MSP-IND
MSP-ORD
MSP-SFO
MSP-DCA
MSP-PHL
MSP-FAR
MSP-MKE
MSP-TPA
MSP-SJC
MSP-SMF
Now You're Flying Smart.
 
SESGDL
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:54 pm

Quoting American 767 (Reply 4):
They are based in MSP. I am not sure there are any that fly out of ATL in regular scheduled service, I may be wrong about that, there are still a few MD-90 departures a day out of the SLC hub, but I know most of them fly out MSP.

MSP typically sees about 50 or so MD-90s on a daily basis, ATL typically sees upwards of 80-90 per day. So while MD-90s are based in MSP, ATL sees the most daily operations of the type, as is the case with almost every plane in the DL fleet.

Jeremy
 
MIflyer12
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:11 pm

Quoting Coronado (Reply 9):
Take a look at Delta's Financial Results and the answer should be obvious.

A fuel efficient 160 pax aircraft that has 20 years in additional useful life, that was purchased for about 10% of the cost of a new build 738. Not exactly rocket science. Plus Delta has the expertise to maintain them like no one else in the world.

Anderson put capital cost of the MD-90s at 1/4 of new airplane capital cost. That gave DL the leverage to replace four 35+ year old planes rather than just one for the same capital outlay.

Imagine a hypothetical subfleet of 44 DC-9s, on average 35 years old.

Buying 11 new 738s, retiring 11 DC-9s, and continuing with 33 DC-9s gives an average fleet age of 26.25 years.

Replacing 44 DC-9s one for one with MD-90s gives an average fleet age of ~17 years.

Unfortunately, MD-90s weren't best in class on fuel consumption the day they were built, let alone 17 years later.

Running consistently older aircraft will make DL much more sensitive to fuel price spikes than its competitors with fleets ten years newer. If fuel prices remain stable, this is a great capital conservation strategy - but there's no good, cheap way to hedge that risk over the remaining service life of the MD-90s.

(Yes, I have ignored seat capacity changes.)
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:14 pm

Thanks everyone for your replies. Sorry I wasn't aware ATL saw a lot of MD-90s. I knew MSP did. When I wrote this post I knew I would be quoted with corrections.

Years ago, back in the 90s, my father flew on one from SLC to SJC.

Ben Soriano

[Edited 2013-09-15 09:22:15]
Ben Soriano
 
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coronado
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:31 pm

Quoting MIflyer12 (Reply 15):
Anderson put capital cost of the MD-90s at 1/4 of new airplane capital cost.

Could even be lower than this. If a 738 new build has a list price of about $90+million and probably an actual cost to Delta of about 45-50mm (50% discount), back in 2011 when they bought 7 JAL MD-90's the then current estimated used aircraft value for them according to Bloomberg was in the US$5-7MM range. I would think Delta by agreeing to take all 13 JAL birds at a schedule convenient to JAL probably was able to lock in a cost at the lower range of the then current value. I would suspect Delta could refurbish them to Delta standards for a couple or maybe 3 million each including WIFI. Tells me they got a capable 160 pax mid range aircraft for about 15% the cost of a new build 738, and from everything I have read they have fuel efficiency within 5% of a 738 for the typical 1000-1500 mile runs they are deployed on. I think they got a closer to 6 for 1 ratio, aircraft wise, for the dollars invested.
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co38
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:37 pm

Does anyone know what DL is paying for their second hand MD-90s?
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:48 pm

Quoting Coronado (Reply 9):
Quoting jfk777 (Reply 8):
Why does Delta love getting collections of oddball airplanes. MD-90 are the runt of a liter, when every airline is getting rid of Mad Dogs Delta is adding them

Take a look at Delta's Financial Results and the answer should be obvious.

A fuel efficient 160 pax aircraft that has 20 years in additional useful life, that was purchased for about 10% of the cost of a new build 738. Not exactly rocket science. Plus Delta has the expertise to maintain them like no one else in the world.

Not much more needs to be said. Doubtful Delta will pay $10-20m more in fuel even over the remaining life of the MD-90 as they would purchasing new 737s.
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:56 pm

Quoting MIflyer12 (Reply 15):
Unfortunately, MD-90s weren't best in class on fuel consumption the day they were built, let alone 17 years later.

Since you brought it up, what is the difference between an MD-90 and a 738 on identical legs in terms of trip costs and fuel costs?


Quoting MIflyer12 (Reply 15):
but there's no good, cheap way to hedge that risk over the remaining service life of the MD-90s.

Part of the wisdom of buying MD-90's cheap is they don't have to fly them as long as they would a new aircraft; they can afford to park them if their fuel consumption becomes an unexpected problem, but I'm not convinced that it could be given the aquisition cost difference between an MD-90 and a new aircraft, and obviously neither is Delta management (who know way more about the calculus involved than anyone posting openly on this site.)
 
trigged
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:49 pm

I was on N914DN on Sept. 12th (ATL-IND) and N953DN on Sept. 14th (IND-ATL). Great planes! Incredibly nicer than N331NW I was on from ATL-PIT on the Sept. 8th.
 
deltaflyertoo
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:02 pm

Question: Was just looking at flights from SMF to MSP on Delta.com and the site indicated those flights have full audio and overhead video entertainment. I thought DL stripped the MD-90 fleet of any IFE except WiFi? Or was that only the recently acquired MD-90s but the existing ones maintain the IFE?
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:07 pm

Quoting MIflyer12 (Reply 15):
Unfortunately, MD-90s weren't best in class on fuel consumption the day they were built, let alone 17 years later.

Got numbers to back that up?

The MD-90 is more efficient than a 734. It also weighs about 5000 pounds less than an A320-200. On longer stage lengths the A320 was surely slightly more efficient but on shorter flights it wouldn't surprise me if the MD-90 was superior (in the 1990s, at least, since the A320 has received continuous improvement).
 
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coronado
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:19 pm

http://www.icao.int/Meetings/AMC/MA/2001/Allpirg4/wp28app.pdf

While these numbers from the ICAO are from 2000, the fuel consumption in gallons per block hour is about the same today as they were when the aircraft were launched. Both seat 160 pax in DL configuration.
737-800 564 gallons per block hour
MD-90 621 gallons per block hour

The MD-90 therefore uses 10% more fuel. If an MD-90 operates 4000 block hours per year, and that is a very high estimate since their typical mission is 2-3 hours long, with over an hour on the ground between flights, in a typical year they will use as an extreme calculation US$650-700,000 more in fuel per year than a 737-800. (4000 block hours x gallons per block hour x $3.05 per gallon). Over 20 years that is $14million in extra fuel costs. Even if we make the assumption and increase cost of fuel to $5.00 per gallon, the cost of fueling an MD-90 is $1.1mm per year more than a 737-800, so $20 million over 20 years.

If Delta is, pessimistically getting their MD-90's with the Delta interior makeover for $10mm and a 737-800 costs Delta $50million, that difference sure buys a lot of fuel, before one even considers the cost of money (interest) tied up in that asset. Sure you can argue that a new build 737-800 will go longer before needing HMV compared to a 10 year old MD-90, but that difference in capital costs covers quite a few HMV cycles.

To put things into perspective the MD-80 (MD88) series with 149 seats is rated at 794 gallons per block hour and the DC950 (120 seats) is rated at 774 gallons per block hour, and Delta bean counters have considered it worthwhile keeping these flying until the end of their useful lives. The DC9-50's finally being retired have an average life of 35 years!
The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
 
commavia
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:25 pm

Quoting Coronado (Reply 9):
Take a look at Delta's Financial Results and the answer should be obvious.

A fuel efficient 160 pax aircraft that has 20 years in additional useful life, that was purchased for about 10% of the cost of a new build 738. Not exactly rocket science. Plus Delta has the expertise to maintain them like no one else in the world.
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 20):
Part of the wisdom of buying MD-90's cheap is they don't have to fly them as long as they would a new aircraft; they can afford to park them if their fuel consumption becomes an unexpected problem, but I'm not convinced that it could be given the aquisition cost difference between an MD-90 and a new aircraft, and obviously neither is Delta management (who know way more about the calculus involved than anyone posting openly on this site.)

I think it reflects a smart move on Delta's part to selectively target opportunities when they come up, but play to its strengths in the areas where Delta has an advantage.

A more-than-decade-old MD90 obviously wins hands down on capital cost, but where it is eventually going to pay a penalty if, of course, fuel efficiency and maintenance cost. On fuel Delta gets a reprieve any time fuel doesn't go up - the less fuel costs escalate, the less and less relatively more valuable a new, more fuel efficient 737 is. But maintenance - herein lies Delta's competitive advantage. With intense management focus at turning TechOps into a successful profit center, together with the absence of unions and ability to freely outsource at will, Delta has managed to create one of the most efficient maintenance operations in the industry with lots of low cost flexibility with external vendors. Thus, while the MD90 may not be as cost-effective in this area, Delta is, and therefore it works.

Nonetheless, Delta's strategy of selectively, and more gradually, rolling over portions of the fleet while simultaneously bringing in (or maintaining) lots of old airplanes is not without risk. The higher maintenance bills for these old MD80s and MD90s will come due at some point, and if fuel prices spike, Delta is going to be at a huge disadvantage to AA and United with hundreds of essentially brand new jets. There is also the massive inefficiency of fleet complexity - which I know Delta is working on addressing. Delta currently operates no fewer than six different configurations of just the 757-200 alone, and another four of the 767-300ER - and by my count, is likely to still be flying at least ten different aircraft families, and far more different configurations, into the foreseeable future.
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:34 pm

Quoting commavia (Reply 25):
The higher maintenance bills for these old MD80s and MD90s will come due at some point, and if fuel prices spike, Delta is going to be at a huge disadvantage to AA and United with hundreds of essentially brand new jets.

If fuel prices spike the economy is going to contract and Delta will have an advantage in being able to park old MDs versus flying brand new aircraft that have hefty notes due every month.
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:59 pm

Quoting commavia (Reply 25):
Nonetheless, Delta's strategy of selectively, and more gradually, rolling over portions of the fleet while simultaneously bringing in (or maintaining) lots of old airplanes is not without risk. The higher maintenance bills for these old MD80s and MD90s will come due at some point, and if fuel prices spike, Delta is going to be at a huge disadvantage to AA and United with hundreds of essentially brand new jets. There is also the massive inefficiency of fleet complexity - which I know Delta is working on addressing.

And again, if Delta is paying (conservatively) a quarter of the cost for an MD-90 as a new 737, how high do you calculate fuel prices and MX costs have to increase before the breakeven point is reached? What is the probability that this occurs during the predicted lifespan of the MD-90 fleet? A 10% fuel burn disadvantage (which is a generalization and far less significant on shorter segments) does not argue for a "huge" disadvantage to UA or AA with their much more expensive fleets. You say there's massive inefficiency: how big does the fleet have to be to be efficient? 65 MD-90's is a pretty sizable fleet, especially in combination with the giant MD-88 fleet.

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 26):
Quoting commavia (Reply 25):The higher maintenance bills for these old MD80s and MD90s will come due at some point, and if fuel prices spike, Delta is going to be at a huge disadvantage to AA and United with hundreds of essentially brand new jets.
If fuel prices spike the economy is going to contract and Delta will have an advantage in being able to park old MDs versus flying brand new aircraft that have hefty notes due every month.

MD-90 is correct. If fuel goes through the roof, DL has the ability to park aircraft that have been long paid for without penalty. If fuel prices decrease, the advantage for DL is even more pronounced, of course. I'm not arguing that buying new vs. used is smart, only that DL is doing both in an incremental and smart manner.

Quoting Coronado (Reply 24):
If Delta is, pessimistically getting their MD-90's with the Delta interior makeover for $10mm and a 737-800 costs Delta $50million, that difference sure buys a lot of fuel, before one even considers the cost of money (interest) tied up in that asset. Sure you can argue that a new build 737-800 will go longer before needing HMV compared to a 10 year old MD-90, but that difference in capital costs covers quite a few HMV cycles.

   Precisely.
 
commavia
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:22 am

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 26):
If fuel prices spike the economy is going to contract and Delta will have an advantage in being able to park old MDs versus flying brand new aircraft that have hefty notes due every month.

To an extent, sure. But I'm not sure quite how much of an advantage that provides for Delta - as both AA and United seem to also retain substantial flexibility in parking aircraft if need be, plus have generally younger and more fuel efficient fleets. In AA's case, it has financed hundreds of new 737s, A319s, etc. on relatively short-term leases that appear to give it relatively easy, near-term capacity off ramps if need be.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 27):
how high do you calculate fuel prices and MX costs have to increase before the breakeven point is reached?

Those numbers are highly proprietary, and I don't have them. But that inflection point exists - which is why airlines buy new airplanes. At some point the burden of relatively poor fuel efficiency, degraded reliability, and higher maintenance expense catch up to lower capital costs. They will for Delta as for every other airline.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 27):
What is the probability that this occurs during the predicted lifespan of the MD-90 fleet?

Precisely - no argument. Delta is betting that it will be able to outrun the relatively poor fuel efficiency, degraded reliability, and higher maintenance expense of these old airplanes compared with a very large crop of new ones - to park them before they start costing more than they're "worth." I suspect Delta is right. We'll see.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 27):
You say there's massive inefficiency: how big does the fleet have to be to be efficient? 65 MD-90's is a pretty sizable fleet, especially in combination with the giant MD-88 fleet.

To be clear - I was not saying there is massive inefficiency because of small fleets preventing economies of scale.

Not at all. On the contrary, Delta has been amassing second-hand MD90s at such a rate that it has, indeed, built up quite a substantial fleet to amortize the fixed fleet costs (spares, peculiar ground equipment, crew training, etc.) across. The same goes for basically all of Delta's fleets except the DC9s - which are about to leave. All are quite large.

The point I was making was that while Delta does generally have sizable fleets of all of its different aircraft types, it just operates a very large number of aircraft types, and also a very large number of different configurations (both cabin and technical) within those fleets. This is massively inefficient, which is why we have seen Delta gradually addressing it. (Based on Wikipedia) Having 29 different aircraft-cabin layout combinations (six for just the 757-200 alone) is simply not economical - as I suspect even Richard Anderson would agree. Thus why Delta appears to be re-configuring and rationalizing fleets/layouts to standardize them as much as possible.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 27):
I'm not arguing that buying new vs. used is smart, only that DL is doing both in an incremental and smart manner.

Nor am I saying that one fleet plan is relatively better or worse than another - just that both are reflective of different strategies, and have pros and cons, and risks. I'm not attacking Delta - I agree it is being smartly selective and financially opportunistic.
 
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coronado
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:35 am

Plus lets face it the number of operators of rear mounted twin engine is rapidly dwindling. We may as well enjoy looking at ''different looking'' mid size commercial jets for a few more years, even if within 3-4 years they will all spot Delta northwest facing tail Widgets other than a few in Hawaii, a few in Mexico and a few with Volotea, if they survive. I suspect by next year the dozen or so Taiwanese MD-90's will start heading to Delta as Taiwan completes all out of the high speed link from Taipei to downtown Kaohsiung, 345kms in 100 minutes. It will put the final ''kill'' on the Taiwan shuttle air service just as the high speed rail between Madrid and Barcelona decimated that air route.

I still wonder whether the Saudia glass cockpit aircraft can be converted to Delta specs.
The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
 
727forever
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:48 am

Quoting Coronado (Reply 24):
While these numbers from the ICAO are from 2000, the fuel consumption in gallons per block hour is about the same today as they were when the aircraft were launched. Both seat 160 pax in DL configuration.
737-800 564 gallons per block hour
MD-90 621 gallons per block hour

While a very impressive chart, I'm sorry to say that many of the numbers just aren't accurate for the fuel burn. Interesting that some error high and some error low. Unfortunately the MD-90 numbers are low. Having several thousand hours on the type, I can tell you that 800-870 is more the reality for the MD-90. A fuel burn of 621 would generate 4142 lbs/hr which isn't even possible empty at max altitude. They also list the DC-9-50 as 774 gal/hr which is 5162 lbs/hr., only possible empty at max altitude, yet the DC-9-30 is listed as 904 gal/hr which is 6029 lbs/hr. and correct. The -50 had JT-8D-17 which burned more than the JT-8D-11/15 on the -30. The 727-200 was way off at 1064 gal/hr which is 7096 lbs/hr. That would be true if only 2/3 engines were running.

All that said, your original point is dead on. The MD-90 purchase price more than makes up for the increased fuel burn over the 20+ years of service DL stands to get out of them.

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wjcandee
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:40 am

Quoting commavia (Reply 25):
The higher maintenance bills for these old MD80s and MD90s will come due at some point, and if fuel prices spike, Delta is going to be at a huge disadvantage to AA and United with hundreds of essentially brand new jets.

It's not like maint is free on new jets. B6 has found this out as its fleet has aged. I think these generalizations need to be backed up with actual numbers. "Higher" is meaningless if "higher" is still "less" than the difference in into-service capital cost. An MD90 purchased for X plus cosmetic upgrades for Y plus a fresh check as it goes into service for Z is going to cost A. If A is 1/6 of a 738, there are a lot of "higher" costs that can be absorbed. I don't know why people here don't trust DL's financial people, who have the actual numbers, to be able to make that calculation. If "fuel prices spike" (to what? $5? they sure as heck aren't going much higher than that unless there is some US political decision that puts them there), the numbers are calculable. A prudent financial analysis calculates the differences and assigns a probability to each. My expectation is that the MD90s look good across a broad range of possible scenarios.

Quoting commavia (Reply 25):
There is also the massive inefficiency of fleet complexity

Says who? Another way of describing "fleet complexity" is "having the right aircraft for the particular route". Those fuel-per-block-hour numbers posted above are far from apples-to-apples. An average per-block-hour number doesn't take into account the ability to optimize stage length. Those lower 738 fuel numbers doubtless are goosed by their ability to fly at efficient cruise for a longer period than the MD90. Put them on the same route and you lose some of that advantage.

And although financial-types get all tingly about "commonality", the fact is that there is a very substantial reduction in marginal benefit from commonality the larger the subfleet gets. If you had a 50-airplane airline with all the same plane, you would have some people lauding you for your great financial wisdom. Drop that "airline" into the operation of a major international carrier, and it's no-less-efficient, especially if it is tasked to serve routes on which it performs well. And DL has plenty of good-for-the-MD90 routes.

Moreover, diversifying the fleet also makes sense from a risk perspective, provided the subfleets are large enough. You don't lose your whole operation if there is a grounding (or media pummeling) of a particular type.

We can all spot the issues. Only DL has the real in-service numbers. They are doing well. I don't think we're in a position to second-guess them.
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:26 am

Quoting B757forever (Reply 5):
Quoting American 767 (Reply 4):
I am not sure there are any that fly out of ATL in regular scheduled service,


There are lots of MD90s operating out of ATL every day.

I believe you can count a couple to STL in among them, in addition to the MD88's and a 757
 
commavia
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:15 pm

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 31):
Another way of describing "fleet complexity" is "having the right aircraft for the particular route"

To an extent, but you don't need six different configurations of one basic airframe/variant to "have the right aircraft for the particular route" - particularly when five of those six configurations span a grand total of 10 seats difference in total capacity. That's not fleet complexity for schedule flexibility's sake - that's just uneconomic. It limits flexibility, scheduling, operational resilience, etc.

Delta's present fleet was generally not fleet complexity by design - it was a natural fallout from the fact that Delta has picked up or amassed so many different first- and/or second-hand jets from so many different original operators. And I think Delta knows it, which is why it seems as though Delta is, indeed, consolidating and rationalizing their fleet to reduce the number of types and configurations.

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 31):
And although financial-types get all tingly about "commonality", the fact is that there is a very substantial reduction in marginal benefit from commonality the larger the subfleet gets.

Again - to an extent. It's certainly true that, all else being equal, it's more efficient to operate a fleet of 50 of a given jet than 15. But on the flip side, it's even more efficient - from a cost perspective - to not operate that jet at all and instead just operate 50 more of another fleet that you already have 150 of. Again - I'm not talking about the cost that comes from small fleets and thus diseconomies of scale. I'm talking about the number of fleets themselves. And Delta has too many, in my opinion.

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 31):
Moreover, diversifying the fleet also makes sense from a risk perspective, provided the subfleets are large enough. You don't lose your whole operation if there is a grounding (or media pummeling) of a particular type.

Perhaps, although that argument doesn't really seem to matter as much when you're talking about fleets this large. I'm not suggesting something ridiculous like that Delta should just part everything except 737s and A330s. But they do need to rationalize their fleet - both the number of aircraft types and in particular the different configurations among those different aircraft types. And again - I suspect Richard Anderson would agree with me. Delta appears to be doing just that.
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:41 pm

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 31):
I don't know why people here don't trust DL's financial people, who have the actual numbers, to be able to make that calculation. If "fuel prices spike" (to what? $5? they sure as heck aren't going much higher than that unless there is some US political decision that puts them there), the numbers are calculable. A prudent financial analysis calculates the differences and assigns a probability to each.

That's a 'They're smart, trust them with risk' kind of answer. Long-Term Capital Management thought it had covered the bases - two Nobel Prize winners on the Board of Directors! - until the 1997 Asian financial crisis took it down. Lehman Brothers? AIG? Royal Bank of Scotland, bailed out to the tune of 82% government ownership? Not every risk is neatly calculable, and given that spot prices hit $3.88/gallon in July 2008, I'm not sure that even $5/gallon represents such a low probability scenario that it can be ignored. A fuel-efficient fleet is its own hedge against rising fuel prices.
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:45 pm

Quoting Coronado (Reply 17):
I think they got a closer to 6 for 1 ratio, aircraft wise, for the dollars invested.

Could be. But the 4:1 comment came right from Anderson on a quarterly earnings conference call, and that's the kind of environment where the company should issue a correction if somebody (Anderson himself, the CFO, Investor Relations) finds that he misspoke on a material matter.
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:28 pm

727forever: Yes I did see some inconsistencies in the chart I found on the ICAO web site. The most striking was the block hour fuel consumption for the 320 compared to the 738.
886 g/hr for the A320 which puts it in the range of the fuel burn number you reference for the MD-90. From what I know engines on the MD-90 are basically the same as the IAE's available on the 320's.
So I really question the fuel burn quoted for the 738. 564 g/hr seems impossibly low. If it were really that good not a single 320 would have ever been sold. Comments?
The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:42 pm

Quoting Coronado (Reply 36):
So I really question the fuel burn quoted for the 738. 564 g/hr seems impossibly low. If it were really that good not a single 320 would have ever been sold. Comments?

We are in full agreement as 564 is more consistent with a 70 seat RJ rather than a 738. I've not flown the 737, but anecdotally from jumpseating I'd say a 738 would see 800-850 g/hr. Perhaps others who have flown the 738 can contribute here.

I have flown the 320 and with the CFM56-5 series the 886 g/hr. is pretty spot on. The IAE engine would be closer to 850-870 g/hr.

ICAO's MD-80 burn at 799 g/hr is only possible at max altitude and half loaded or less. More realistic is 929 g/hr. fully loaded at optimum altitude.

So as a recap, realistic burn numbers in gallons per hour are:
A320 886
B738 850
M80 929
M90 870
D95 959
717 850

727forever

[Edited 2013-09-16 06:45:50]
727forever
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:17 pm

727forever. You just made Delta even a lot smarter than I was granting them. Based on a 10% fuel burn penalty for the MD-90s and $5/gallon fuel they look like geniuses. But if the fuel burn penalty is only 2 or 3%, all I can say is wow. Especially as Delta Tech Ops is amassing an inventory of inexpensive spare parts by picking up the SAS '80s to part out.
The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:18 pm

On a tangentially related note, Delta's stock price is up over US$23/share today resulting in a market capitalization of over US$20 billion.
The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:46 pm

Quoting commavia (Reply 28):
Those numbers are highly proprietary, and I don't have them. But that inflection point exists - which is why airlines buy new airplanes. At some point the burden of relatively poor fuel efficiency, degraded reliability, and higher maintenance expense catch up to lower capital costs. They will for Delta as for every other airline.

Keep in mind that the MD-90 is an extremely unusual case. The worldwide fleet is just a bit over 100 frames and acquiring a large enough fleet secondhand to be economical would be challenging for just about any airline which did not already operate the type. Delta already owned 16, so taking on used MD-90's improves the economics of operating the aircraft they had in the fleet. And as others have pointed out, the MD-90 is very close in efficiency to current in-production narrowbody aircraft and in fact shares the same engines as one of the market leaders.

And it's also fortunate for DL that practically every other MD-90 operator in the world was looking to sell their aircraft at nearly the same time -- and with a very limited number of buyers, they could be had at an attractive price.

Quoting Coronado (Reply 38):
Especially as Delta Tech Ops is amassing an inventory of inexpensive spare parts by picking up the SAS '80s to part out.

   Picking up relatively cheap spares for the MD-90's also makes the financial analysis more attractive for the MD-90.

Quoting 727forever (Reply 37):
So as a recap, realistic burn numbers in gallons per hour are:
A320 886
M90 870

Even with slightly higher fuel burn, the M90 would be more economical than the A320 for DL, given that it carries 10 more passengers...
 
milesrich
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:03 pm

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 8):
Why does Delta love getting collections of oddball airplanes. MD-90 are the runt of a liter, when every airline is getting rid of Mad Dogs Delta is adding them.

I think the thread has sufficiently expressed the economic reasons. The same reasons apply why Delta is acquiring AirTrans 717's. The Douglas DC-9 series airplanes are tough, and cheaper to maintain, suffering less corrosion, etc. I also think that passengers like the 2-3 five across seating they provide in coach. And for a route system where the vast majority of segments are under 1500 miles, the MD-90 is a perfect airplane for the mission.
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:03 pm

Quoting 727forever (Reply 37):
So as a recap, realistic burn numbers in gallons per hour are:
A320 886
B738 850
M80 929
M90 870
D95 959
717 850

(Emphasis added by me.)

Out of those numbers, the 717 is the most surprising to me. I think the case of the MD-90 is fairly clear, but based on these fuel burn numbers alone the case for the 717 seems less obvious given that it supposedly burns as much as a 738. I was under the impression the 717 was more efficient than that.

I am fully aware that the fuel burn alone is not the only issue here (pretty much what this whole thread is about), and that capex is guaranteed to be much lower on a 717 vs nearly every similar sized aircraft currently, but it still struck me.

Does anyone have fuel burn numbers for the A319? Word on A.net a while back was that DL didn't like their A319's, but even if they are burning the same as the A320 (based on 727forever's numbers), they have a good 10% advantage over the 717 in fuel burn/passenger given then A319 carries sixteen more people.

[Edited 2013-09-16 11:04:20]
SA-227; B1900; Q200; Q400; CRJ-2,7,9; 717; 727-2; 737-3,4,5,7,8,9; 747-2; 757-2,3; 767-3,4; MD-90; A319, 320; DC-9; DC-1
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:20 pm

Quoting ScottB (Reply 40):
Even with slightly higher fuel burn, the M90 would be more economical than the A320 for DL, given that it carries 10 more passengers...

Not for long...the reconfigured 320's will be ~160
My comments/opinions are my own and are not to be construed as the opinion(s) of my employer.
 
airtechy
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:38 pm

It well be interesting to revisit this thread in late October when Delta releases it's 3rd quarter financials. It may bring new reasoning to the purchase of these "antiquated" airplanes.  

AT
 
TR1
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:01 pm

Quoting b727fa (Reply 43):
Not for long...the reconfigured 320's will be ~160

Where did you hear of this? I don't recall any official announcement about the A320s receiving additional seats. I know they were seriously talking about the A319s but not the A320s.
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:31 am

New galley and new seat options will allow 12 +/- (2 rows) new seats.
My comments/opinions are my own and are not to be construed as the opinion(s) of my employer.
 
727forever
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:41 am

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 42):
Out of those numbers, the 717 is the most surprising to me. I think the case of the MD-90 is fairly clear, but based on these fuel burn numbers alone the case for the 717 seems less obvious given that it supposedly burns as much as a 738. I was under the impression the 717 was more efficient than that.

The 717 has the same problem as the MD-90 in that it is a stretch without a larger wing. It still has the DC-9-34 wing, but more weight due to the heavier engines and the additional payload. This means that it usually cruises in the 330-350 range as it is typically too heavy to climb above 350 to get up in that thinner air. The 738 on the other hand has a great wing and with the winglets can get up to 360 and above at most weights. Thus it has fuel burn numbers comparable to the 717. Additionally, for what DL plans to do with the 717 it will spend most of it's life climbing and descending anyway. FL uses the 717 mostly on 1-3 hour segments making the CASM gap with the 738 more significant.

727forever
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viasa
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:52 pm

Afaik N942DN is not in operation.
 
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RE: Last Delta MD90 In ATL?

Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:26 pm

727 forever I think the 717 fuel burn is actually closer to 700-740g/hr and not the 850 you mention. Can you check this out?

This is a bit off topic, but onteresting link on take off fuel consumption for 737-8 versus 717.

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aer...rticles/qtr_4_08/article_05_1.html

The 737-800 uses about 35% more fuel on operations up to 10000 feet, of course it is an aircraft with 33% more seats. On the other hand as you said a 717' typical route has them climbing to maybe only 30000 ft and then starting a descent again.

Also Robert Fornaro of Airtran said the following about their 717--they expected 18% better fuel burn but were getting 24% better, presumably comparing it to the DC9-30 (instead of the DC950), but in any case a 20% improvement over the DC9-30/50 900-950g/hr suggests a fuel burn for the 717 in the 700-40g/hr range. Here is the full article relating to the launch of the 717 with Hawaiian with his quote.

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2001/Mar/18/bz/bz02a.html

Of course the 717's is really being deployed to replace CRJ capacity. In Enilria's schedule link it shows Delta dropping from 11 daily rotations ATL-Fort Walton Beach (VPS) a flight distance of about 270 miles to a total of 7 daily rotations during the month of March, but with all CR2's gone and 6 daily 717's and 1 xMD88 in operation.
The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973