Delta Upgrading the MD-88 and MD-90 fleets

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by jbcarioca, Apr 5, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Reemphasizing the Delta commitment to march to a different drummer, they are installing new flat panel integrated avionics in their fleet of MD-88 and MD-90. They will save in maintenance, fuel, and routing flexibility. It seems to prove that DL values cheap vs new, and capital preservation vs new airframes, as if we did not know that. Further, the short haul flights really do not benefit as much from fuel economy as much as longer ones do.

    http://m.prnewswire.com/news-releas...-and-flight-management-systems-201297341.html
     
    MX, autolycus, sobore and 1 other person like this.
  2. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,136
    Likes Received:
    7,321
    Status Points:
    5,000
    From your expertise, is this "different drummer" going to lead them to better long-term profitability or is this just kicking the can down the road into a bigger pile of cans?
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  3. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I would not claim expertise. Their tactics can, IMHO, be very effective so long as no other large carriers imitate them too closely. They can also get great deals on new aircraft such as B767 and A330 (but the A330's have a three year wait now, probably less after the production increase Airbus is making goes through) and, if they can absorb them, Boeing will make a fantastic deal for anybody who'll accept a B748i. A few years from now the narrowbody market should be superb for them as all those thousands of newish B737NG and A32X begin to be replaced with NEO and MAX, so their strategy may work for some years to come.

    There also is the reality that DL is daily large enough to accommodate multiple aircraft types and still ahve scale economies for maintenance. Where there is a question they've also outsourcing as a solution.

    So, FWIW, I think it is a very smart strategy from a capital management perspective, but less so form a maintenance and operating economy perspective. On balance, with cost of capital so high for perpetual money losers like airlines, I think DL is making shrewd decisions.

    As a passenger I like new and shiny.
     
    autolycus likes this.
  4. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,136
    Likes Received:
    7,321
    Status Points:
    5,000
    Don't we all!
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  5. tommy777
    Original Member

    tommy777 Co-founder

    Messages:
    2,674
    Likes Received:
    6,596
    Status Points:
    4,570
    I would't call the MD90 old, first one flew in 1995. It's a very quiet and comfortable aircraft and it has 50% less middle seats than the 737 and the A320. I hope they keep them for a long time
     
    skyvan, monitor, serion and 4 others like this.
  6. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    You're correct in the same context taht the B737NG is not old. Don't forget all the B717 nee MD95 also. Even the older MD-88's still have lots of cycles left. There is no reason they will not be soldiering on for a decade at minimum, so long as fuel and maintenance costs do not hamper them. From a passenger POV I agree with you that I'd rather be on a Mad Dog than on a B737. The A32X is a slightly different issue because it is a modern basic design (e.g. FBW) and has a better ride than either of the others. Frankly I'm certain it is only people like us who notice the difference. I'm prejudiced in favor of DC because of being based at LGB for some years. Not so much McDonnell, who seem to have nicely destroyed Douglas and now working on Boeing (sorry for change of topic)
     
  7. tommy777
    Original Member

    tommy777 Co-founder

    Messages:
    2,674
    Likes Received:
    6,596
    Status Points:
    4,570
    Better ride? How so?
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  8. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    The FBW aircraft have the ability to smooth out turbulence more than non FBW do. Thus a B777 is a smoother ride than a B747. The newer the system the better the results, logically enough, so a B787 and an A380 both are better rides than any of their competitors. The A330 is far better than a B767, but the newer design of the B787 beats it. The good news for all of us, I think, is that with all new designs being FBW we can expect new revisions of existing FBW models to have similar ride quality to the newest designs. Thus, I'd expect the A350 to be better than the B787 and the B77X to be better than that. Soon, software updates will keep them all close to state of the art, assuming the control surfaces will permit that. I suspect the improvement will normally be associated with major wing and empennage modifications, thus my suspicion that software modifications alone will not have dramatic effects.

    If you ride an A32X and a B73XNG back to back, similar sized ones, you'll notice the difference. I'm sure the general public will notice little or no difference except in bad weather, when they'll be terrified anyway.
     
  9. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,414
    Likes Received:
    3,574
    Status Points:
    2,025
    Talking to an AirTran pilot last night in ATL, Delta is picking up the 717's as FL phases them out to WN 737's.
     
    Flyer1976 and jbcarioca like this.
  10. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    DL negotiated a spectacular deal too, in which WN pays for the conversion costs to integrate them to the DL fleet. Yet another example of how the DL sharp pencils work.

    Sent from my iPad using milepoint
     
    Davescj, Flyer1976 and Mike Reed like this.
  11. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,414
    Likes Received:
    3,574
    Status Points:
    2,025
    And I hate it. :) Really, honestly, only on landings, where the Airbus rides seem to adjust a little a whole lot more and really use rudder vs. the Boeing aircraft that have a straighter ride in, but perhaps an off-axis landing that requires adjusting when the wheels hit. Just my experience as a passenger... I'm not a pilot.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  12. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,414
    Likes Received:
    3,574
    Status Points:
    2,025
    Interestingly, this will push my ATL based traffic back to DL when the conversion is complete. 2-class is my preferred style of travel, even on short-haul, and I'm more likely to get either F or EC on DL vs. 'standard' on WN. I'll actually requal as FL elite again this month and have a spectacular upgrade rate on FL.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  13. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Actually there is a trivial difference between them. Almost all of the rudder use in a jet is to compensate for crosswinds. The B737NG's carry a slight bit I'd left rudder in landing due to a slight aerodynamic difference in the nose wheel installation, I am told by NG pilots. The Airbuses have none of that nor do most Boeing models, I'm told. I have no type ratings in either although I do in other types. So, I'm repeating what types pilots have said, not my own experience.

    Sent from my iPad using milepoint
     
    Mike Reed likes this.
  14. Davescj
    Original Member

    Davescj Silver Member

    Messages:
    565
    Likes Received:
    536
    Status Points:
    720
    I don't mind the MD88s/90s. As pointed out - one less row of middle seats. Also, one F than the A319.

    The other thing - not a bad idea to upgrade an airframe. I would guess it does save money. And is not making money the point of a business?
     
    Gargoyle and jbcarioca like this.
  15. AMPfromBNA

    AMPfromBNA Silver Member

    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    86
    Status Points:
    305
    Doesn't the 717 use a different type-rating than the MD/DC family, and the other 7X7s? Do you think Delta will retrain pilots or lure away old AirTran crew?
     
    Gargoyle and jbcarioca like this.
  16. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    The DC-9 type rating covers all derivatives including the B717. There is differences training that differs based on the models the pilot has previously flown.
     
    Mike Reed likes this.
  17. AMPfromBNA

    AMPfromBNA Silver Member

    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    86
    Status Points:
    305
    Thanks for the info! This could have been a deciding factor when picking from two flights next to each other (and only 1 of 2 was 717), out of a non-hub. I'd hate to encounter IROPs because replacement crew wasn't type-approved.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  18. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    They'd still need differences training. DL has a plentiful supply of DC-9 drivers currently eligible for MB-83/88 and B717 IIRC. You should not ever have a problem on that score.:)
     
  19. James K.

    James K. Silver Member

    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    176
    Status Points:
    375
    I really like flying the MDs, and look forward to notching a 717 on Delta. It's really nice having a twofer for me and my wife, and I'm always bummed out when we have to ride in one of DL's craptastic A319/20s.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  20. JetsettingEric
    Original Member

    JetsettingEric Silver Member

    Messages:
    626
    Likes Received:
    705
    Status Points:
    695
    The MD88s/MD90s are very competitive to the 737s/A320s on shorter flights. It's longer flights where the newer jets show their advantage. With a large fleet to choose from, DL can optimize cheaper to buy/lease planes on shorter segments and more fuel efficient planes where it really counts.
     
    DiverDave and jbcarioca like this.
  21. Tomtoon

    Tomtoon Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status Points:
    40
    Personally I was dreading the flight I made from LGA to MCO the other day as it was on a MD88. Oh my god it was horrible. The plane was so noisy due to rear engines. The turbulence on the route was also horrible because these planes can't fly above 31000 feet like 737's/a320's. Last year, during my holiday most NYC to MCO were either of those not MD88's. If it was up to me I would change to flight to a 737/a320 on the return leg, but gotta put up with these awful planes.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  22. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    MD88 and MD90 have max altitudes of 37,000 feet. Both will climb to get out of bad weather, but generally are used on shorter legs and tend to therefore stay around 29-31,000 feet. Long range cruise of them is typically 31-33,000 feet, but not many of them are used on long routes. Both B737 and A320 are typically flown at similar altitudes on shorter routes and higher ones on longer legs. The MD's were built very robustly and are fairly quiet unless you're seated in the rear of the airplane. All three of these airplanes are capable. I doubt any passenger can tell the difference in a visceral sense between them, although seating and visual clues are quite different.

    In short, turbulence is a function of the weather, and all modern turbojets can fly above the worst weather and divert when they cannot. However, the shorter the flight teh lower the altitude will be and the more weather you might encounter. Please do not blame the airplane. It is doing it's job. Further, the high wing loading of MD-88/90 tend to give them a pretty good ride for their size. You might prefer another similarly sized airplane such as a CRJ or EMB, both of which typically cruise at higher altitudes, but you'll still take off and descend through the "soup".
     
    James K., Flyer1976 and USAF_Pride like this.
  23. Tomtoon

    Tomtoon Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status Points:
    40
    Oh right ok, I was under the impression they can't fly above 31,000 feet I swear I've seen that on air crash investigation (mayday) or somewhere like that.

    Well in general my preference is towards the 737's/A320's :) wish they'd bring them back on more of the MCO-NYC routes but it won't matter if they do as ill be flying back home to UK
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  24. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    It is very possible you did hear it in some place or other because many people making these programs do not understand what they're talking about very well so they might easily confuse typical cruise altitude with maximum altitude. As for preferences, we all have them, there is not any reason why all of us should not have them. I share your preferences myself.
     
  25. USAF_Pride
    Original Member

    USAF_Pride Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,108
    Likes Received:
    4,015
    Status Points:
    2,545
    At least they do not have the annoying engine whine that the A19/20 have no matter where you are sitting on the plane. Plus most have power outlets under the F seats! I used to like the A19/20, but that was when it had 4 rows of F and the person reclining in front of you wasn't literally laying in your lap.
     
    traveller99 and jbcarioca like this.

Share This Page