On Tuesday, 2 June, Delta Air Lines retired its fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and MD-90 airliners, following the suit of other airlines who are offloading older, less efficient airliners as the global aviation industry faces a downturn in demand thanks to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Delta has operated the McDonnell Douglas jets for 34 years, with them forming the backbone of much of the airline’s domestic network, even after the merger with Northwest Airlines which brought in many more Airbus types to the fleet.
This is also a significant moment in that it leaves not Douglas DC-9 or McDonnell Douglas MD-80/90 series aircraft operating passenger flights in the United States.
Last year American Airlines also retired its MD-80 series fleet, which had peaked at over 350 aircraft at one time.
Delta’s final MD-88 and MD-90 flights, aptly numbered DL88 and DL90, were targeted by aviation enthusiasts who gathered at airports to witness their departures, or even bought tickets to fly on board.
Airports also marked the occasion by showering the aircraft with water cannon salutes from fire tenders.
Most of the Delta MD-88 and MD-90 fleet has been sent to Blytheville, AR, for storage and disposal.