Airlines Delta to retire MD-88 and MD-90 fleets in June

Delta Air Lines has announced, that it will – earlier than planned – retire its McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and MD-90 fleet this summer.

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The carrier announced, that the entire McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and MD-90 fleets will leave the fleet effective June 2020. The aircraft were previously set to retire by the end of 2020. The accelerated retirement schedule of both aircraft is a result of the current situation.

With retiring the aging aircraft fleets, Delta will shift its focus on operating more fuel-efficient and modern aircraft. Due to the low air travel demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the aircraft are already parked. More than 600 mainline and regional aircraft have been parked in the last two months.

Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, the fleet consisted of 47 MD-88s and 29 MD-90s. The MD-80 fleet has been in service for nearly 30 years now, while the MD-90 fleet is a little bit younger with nearly 23 years on average. Both aircraft were the workhorse for the domestic network.

Moving on, Delta continues to evaluate its fleet plan for the broader future. The carrier could possibly consider additional aircraft fleets for being too inefficient to operate. In the long term, Delta seeks to use a simplified and modern fleet, which would result in better operational performance and lower costs for maintenance.

In the history of Delta, the airline operated a total of 141 McDonnell Douglas MD-88s and 57 McDonnell Douglas MD-90s. Over the last years, the airline began to successively retire some of the aircraft as it welcomed more modern fleets.

The retirement also means, that as of this summer, there will be no airline in the United States to use the McDonnell Douglas MD for passenger operations. American Airlines recently retired its last MD-82 aircraft.

Without the MD aircraft, Delta Air Lines´ fleet consists of Airbus A220s, A319s, A320s, A321s, A330s, A350 XWBs, Boeing 717s, 737s, 757s, 767s and 777s. The airline has one of the largest aircraft fleets in the world.

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