With Delta retiring their MD-80’s and MD-90’s tomorrow, an era is ending. This era, lasting all the way from the MD-80’s first flight in 1979, to now, is closing fast, with AA, Delta, and many more operators retiring the MD-80 at an unprecedented rate. It’s the sad reality of the airline business, where legendary aircraft are retired in favor of new, efficient ones.
The MD-80 was developed from the already proven workhorse called the DC-9, which had over 976 orders. The MD-80 amassed numbers of 1,191 orders, which is a lot. The MD-80 quickly became a household name, everybody knew of the airplane, from both its appearance, and publicity (good and bad). The MD-80 was a competitor to both the 737 classics and NG series, and the original A320 series, and other short-medium haul aircraft. The MD-80 held its ground in the ever-evolving aviation industry throughout the years, well into the 2000’s, it’s operational life loved out the company McDonnell Douglas itself!
Delta first placed the MD-80 into service on January 5th, 1988 (it’s quite coincidental that they operate the MD-88 variant too). But the first eight were delivered as MD-82’s, and from the 9th on, all of Delta’s MD-80’s were the -88 variant. The MD-80 faithfully served Delta for 32 years, becoming the flagship of their fleet at times, the MD-80 served with both the oldest, and most modern planes in Delta’s fleet. Eventually, all reigns have to end, and now is the time for Delta’s MD-80’s. In favor of more modern, fuel efficient aircraft, and because of decreased demand from the virus, the MD-80 is finally being retired. For the better, or the worse, only time will tell.
Delta is the last passenger operator of the MD-80 in America, and is one of the few worldwide operators. Apart from Everts Air, Delta is the last US-based operator of the MD-80, which makes this retirement even more saddening. We may never see Delta’s MD-80’s and MD-90’s fly after June 2nd, 2020 (apart from flying to their permanent retirement home), but we will always remember the MD-80 and MD-90. While Delta’s MD-80’s may be history after tomorrow, they will never be forgotten for their service with Delta.
And now, for a poem by @Infinite_Qantas.
MD-80, often called maddog
You could fly in every weather condition even fog
With your rocket engines so strong
My expectations were never wrong
With your engines so loud
The aviation community never could have been more proud
Dear MD-80, the time has come
Time to say goodbye
I want to thank you for all the memories you gave me
So one more time
One more time to shine in the sky
With the engines so loud en powerful, I’m grateful to have flown with you
A personal note:
The MD-80 is my second favorite plane (second to the DC-9), so this retirement is incredibly sad for me, after tomorrow, there won’t be a single passenger operator that has MD-80’s in the US.
I do acknowledge the contributions the MD-90 has made in the aviation industry, but I thought I’d focus on the more iconic MD-80. It’s sad to see them both go.
Farewell, MD-80 and MD-90, you will be missed, but not forgotten!
Thanks for stopping by!