Delta Air Lines accelerates MD-88, MD-90 retirement

A Delta Air Lines MD-90 at Chicago O'Hare. Photo: © Jan-Hendrik Fiedler / IFN

Delta Air Lines has announced that all of its remaining McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft will be retired in June.

This is a direct result of the impact Coronavirus has on the aviation industry as the MD-88 was previously set for retirement at the end of 2020 and the MD-90 in 2022. These 76 aircraft in total are the first ones to leave Delta’s fleet completely amid the ongoing crisis.

In addition to these retirements, the airline has temporarily parked over 600 mainline and regional planes at various airports throughout the US and has severely cut the number of flights it operates everyday. It was also the last remaining operator of the MD-90 and had the largest number of “Mad Dogs”, as it was nicknamed by aviation enthusiasts, in its fleet.

Currently there are no plans to replace the lost capacity at the airline in the near future, although Delta does have 100 Airbus A321neo and 50 Airbus A220-300 on order which were previously set to gradually replace the 149-seat MD-88 and 158-seat MD-90 one-by-one as they were being phased out. The airline didn’t comment on potential further retirements of other aircraft types.