Tag Archives: McDonnell Douglas MD-88

Delta retires the MD-88 and MD-90 ‘Mad Dogs’

Delta Air Lines made this announcement:

Today, June 2, June 2, Delta’s MD-88s and MD-90s will fly their final scheduled flights before heading to Blytheville, Ark., for their well-deserved retirement. For more than three decades in the case of the MD-88s, these aircraft served as steady workhorses for the domestic network. They also played significant roles during some of Delta’s challenging moments, as well as periods of success for the airline.

Even now, the MD-88 and MD-90 retirement marks a special moment in time for Delta, as the airline looks to evolve into a stronger, better, more nimble company amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The final MD-90 flight—aptly numbered DL90—will arrive in Atlanta from Houston at approximately 9 a.m. The final MD-88 flight, DL88, will from arrive from Washington-Dulles at 10 a.m.

Delta is the last U.S. passenger airline to operate these aircraft, whose history will never be forgotten. At our peak, Delta operated a fleet of 185 “Mad Dog” jets that flew roughly 900 daily flights. Read on for a snapshot of both aircraft, which have carried millions of Delta customers during their operating lifespan.

Above Photos: @diecastryan, @Drew_Fellers_Studios.


  • Delta placed its initial order for 30 MD-88s, often called “Mad Dogs,” in January 1986 with options for 50 more. Eight of the planes were delivered as model MD-82, the forerunner to the MD-88 and later modified by Delta to the more advanced flight deck of the MD-88 configuration.
  • The MD-88 first entered the Delta fleet  in January 1988, serving Austin, Birmingham, Cincinnati, Jackson, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Shreveport and Washington, D.C. The final MD-88 was delivered in December 1993.
  • Developed from the original  Douglas DC-9, the 149-seat MD-88 had twice the passenger capacity of the first version, and modernized engines and avionics. The aircraft’s updated “glass cockpit” boasted digital displays powered by cathode ray tubes was advanced at the time. It also featured aerodynamics improvements found on the earlier MD-82, including a redesigned tail cone.
  • The aircraft also had a 22-inch wide aisle in the coach cabin and handrails along the edge of the overhead bins to offer additional comfort and safety for customers and crews moving through the cabin.
  • As of February this year, prior to the coronavirus-driven fleet reduction, there were 47 MD-88s operating.
  • The MD-88 served a number of special missions during its time at Delta. Just last year, as hurricanes devastated parts of the Bahamas, the MD-88 was used on a humanitarian mission to bring supplies and evacuate residents off the islands, as the flight crew recounted in this NPR interview.


  • Delta was the  launch customer  for the 158-seat MD-90, which entered commercial service in April 1995 between Dallas and Reno. Some of the first cities scheduled for MD-90 service included Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, Nashville, Newark, Reno and Jackson.
  • As the MD-88’s successor, the MD-90 improved Delta’s cost performance by saving fuel and carrying larger loads while minimizing environmental impact through less noise and reduced emissions. The aircraft offered Delta flexibility to provide passenger and cargo services in a wide variety of operating environments since the aircraft performed very well at hot and high-altitude airports, making it possible for Delta to schedule the aircraft for operations throughout North America—for short-haul and longer routes.
  • Delta initially purchased the MD-90 to replace its  Boeing 727’s, but when McDonnell Douglas was bought by Boeing in 1997, Delta canceled the rest of its MD-90s and began purchasing the Boeing  737-800. Post-bankruptcy, Delta expanded the MD-90 fleet between 2009 and 2013 when it purchased and refurbished 49 used MD-90s. The addition of these aircraft  helped Delta rebound after bankruptcy.
  • As of February, prior to the coronavirus-driven fleet reduction, there were 29 MD-90s operating.

For the record, MD-88 N900DE operated flight DL88 from IAD to ATL and MD-90 N925DN operated flight DL90 from IAG to ATL.

More from CNN on the last flights.



Historic Photos:

Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88 N992DL (msn 53344) COS (Bruce Drum). Image: 102681.

Above Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88 N992DL (msn 53344) COS (Bruce Drum). Image: 102681.

Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 N905DA (msn 53385) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 100298.

Above Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 N905DA (msn 53385) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 100298.

Delta historic aircraft slide show:


Delta sets the retirement date for the MD-88 and MD-90 fleets

Photo: Delta Air Lines.

Delta Air Lines has made this announcement:

Delta’s McDonnell Douglas MD-88s and MD-90s will depart on their last scheduled revenue flights on June 2, 2020 as Delta officially retires the “Mad Dog” jets from the fleet.

Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88 N994DL (msn 53346) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 950150.

Above Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88 N994DL (msn 53346) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 950150.

In a nod to the T-tail jet’s name, Delta flight 88, a McDonnell Douglas MD-88, will depart on its last scheduled revenue flight on the morning of Tuesday, June 2, 2020 from Washington-Dulles International Airport to our hub in Atlanta.

Earlier that same morning, Delta flight 90, operated by an MD-90 aircraft, will fly from Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston to ATL.

For the MD-90, the final flight will arrive from Houston (IAH) at Atlanta at 8:58 a.m. while the final MD-88 will arrive from Washington (Dulles), DC at ATL at 10:00 a.m.

Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 N905DA (msn 53385) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 100298.

Above Copyright Photo: The MD-90-30 in the original 2000 livery: Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 N905DA (msn 53385) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 100298.

Once on the ground in Atlanta, the aircraft will join several other MD-88s and MD-90s as they fly to Blytheville, Arkansas, where they will be officially retired from the fleet.

Last month Delta announced its plans to retire the MD-88 and MD-90 fleet earlier than previously planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on travel demand.

Delta has been able to react quickly to the COVID-19 crisis by parking aircraft and considering early retirements of older, less efficient airplanes. Delta continues to evaluate its broader fleet plan and will consider additional aircraft retirements to focus on a modern, simpler fleet going forward.

Delta aircraft slide show:

Delta to keep the MD-88s flying until 2020 due to replacement Bombardier CS100 delays

All Delta MD-88s to be retired by 2020

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has been forced to delay the retirement of the last McDonnell Douglas MD-88 until 2020. This was confirmed on the Delta management conference call last week to analysts to discuss Delta’s fourth quarter and 2017 financial results.

Delta currently has 108 McDonnell Douglas MD-88s in service.

The retirement target date has been pushed back due to the delays with the replacement Bombardier C Series aircraft. Delta has 75 copies of the Bombardier CS100 on order (below). Deliveries were previously expected to begin later this year. This target date is likely to slip.

Delta is also adding Airbus A321s to replace the MD-88s.

Above Image and Photo: Delta Air Lines.

Delta is negotiating with Bombardier to ensure all 75 Bombardier CS100s are assembled in Mobile, AL as insurance there will be no import traiffs imposed on Canadian-built aircraft.

Boeing has previously accused Bombardier of dumping the aircraft on to the US market after Bombardier reported a $500 million (CA) loss due mainly to three orders it negotiated probably at a loss.

Delta is now being forced to spend more money on the aging MD-88s for maintenance until the type is fully replaced.

On October 16, 2017 Airbus and Bombardier Inc. announced they are partnering on the C Series aircraft program. The agreement brings together Airbus’ global reach and scale with Bombardier’s newest, state-of-the-art jet aircraft family, positioning both partners to fully unlock the value of the C Series platform and create significant new value for customers, suppliers, employees and shareholders.

Under the agreement, Airbus will provide procurement, sales and marketing, and customer support expertise to the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), the entity that manufactures and sells the C Series. At closing, Airbus will acquire a 50.01% interest in CSALP. Bombardier and Investissement Québec (IQ) will own approximately 31% and 19% respectively.

Airbus has a assembly plant in Mobile, AL for its Airbus aircraft.

Negotiations continue between Delta and Bombardier.

Top Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88 N998DL (msn 53370) MIA (Jay Selman). Image: 402860.

Delta Air Lines aircraft slide show:


Delta Air Lines MD-88 N909DL skids off the runway while landing at LaGuardia Airport

Delta MD-88 skids off runway at LGA 3.5.15

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) flight DL 1086 from Atlanta to New York’s La Guardia Airport skidded off the runway this morning while attempting to land at LGA in winter weather conditions. The McDonnell Douglas MD-88 (N909DL, msn 49540) with 127 passengers and five crew members was attempting to land on runway 13 at approximately 11:05 am. The aircraft veered off the runway to the left and came to a stop up on a berm with the nose penetrating the security fence (approximate position marked X below). The right wing appears to have sustained some damage although this is unconfirmed. There was a minor leak of fuel.

LGA AIrport Map (FAA)(LR) copy

Map Above: FAA.

According the NYNJPA, two aircraft had just landed on the same runway before DL 1086 and reported “good braking action”.

Below Photos: New York Fire Department: The nose and underside of N909DL also sustained damage.

Delta N909DL Nose (NYPD)

Delta N909DL overhanding the berm (NYFD)(LR)

All passengers and crew members safely exited the aircraft from the over-the-wing exits. Two passengers have been transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.

LaGuardia Airport was closed but has now reopened runway 4-22.

Delta issued this statement after the accident:

Delta employees, including volunteers of the Delta Care Team in and en route to New York, are assisting passengers of Delta flight 1086. Aircraft maintenance technicians, investigators and other Delta specialists also will arrive in New York shortly to assist with the investigation.

Delta Air Lines Flight 1086, a MD-88 en route from Atlanta to New York-LGA, exited Runway 13 during landing. The incident occurred at approximately 11 a.m. local time Thursday. There were 127 passengers and five crew members on board. Passengers deplaned and moved to the terminal on buses. Minor injuries have been reported.

The MD-88 involved in today’s incident was delivered new to Delta in 1987. The aircraft last had a major maintenance overhaul in December 2010. These overhauls are performed every seven or eight years, depending on aircraft type. Its most recent maintenance service check was March 3, 2015.

Delta has had approximately 230 cancellations today at New York-LGA as a result of winter weather and the closure of one runway. The airline is proactively assisting customers with their travel.

On March 6 Delta issued this update:

The aircraft (MD-88 N909DL) of Delta Air Lines Flight 1086 on March 5 has been moved to a hangar where investigators continue their work. Delta is fully cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board who is leading the investigation.

Delta is restricted from commenting on the investigation in order to ensure that this important work goes unimpeded.

Delta teams have worked through the night to begin returning belongings to customers. Road conditions are gradually improving in New York City which will speed up this effort. In the meantime, Delta has refunded each customer the full price of their airfare and remains in touch to assist customers with any other immediate needs.

Top Twitter photo by Sarah Wagner.


Delta N909DL at LGA


Delta to add two new Cancun routes this summer

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will add two seasonal routes to Cancun, Mexico this summer from June 6 through August 28. Baltimore/Washington – Cancun and Pittsburgh – Cancun will both be operated weekly on Saturdays with McDonnell Douglas MD-88s per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas MD-88 N906DE (msn 53415) is pictured in action at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Delta aircraft slide show (current livery only):

AG Bottom Ad Bar

Allegiant to start two new routes from Mesa, Arizona in December

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) will start two new routes from Mesa, Arizona (west Phoenix) in December. Twice-weekly Mesa-Oakland service will be added on December 15 followed by twice-weekly Mesa-Casper, Wyoming service on December 20 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: McDonnell Douglas MD-88 N414NV (msn 49766) taxies at Los Angeles International Airport.

Allegiant Air: 

Dynamic Aviation establishes Dynamic Airways as a new charter airline

Dynamic Aviation (Bridgewater Airpark, VA) has established Dynamic Airways as a new charter airline. The new airline is planning to start FAA proving flights as it prepares to obtain its AOC.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman. The first aircraft is this ex-Midwest Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-88 now registered as N880DA (msn 49760, ex N701ME). The airliner is pictured at Charlotte.

Delta Shuttle to launch service to Chicago O’Hare on June 14

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) on Monday (June 14) will launch hourly Delta Shuttle service with 11 weekday flights between New York-LaGuardia and Chicago-O’Hare International airports.

Service operates 7am – 8pm weekdays, excluding holidays. Service may be operated by Delta Connection carrier (probably Compass Airlines).

Copyright Photo: Delta Shuttle’s McDonnell Douglas MD-88 N909DE (msn 53418) arrives at Washington (Reagan National).