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Delta Air Lines announced (30-Apr-2020) plans to accelerate the retirement of its MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft earlier than previously planned, with both aircraft types exiting the fleet effective June 2020.
The accelerated retirement schedule of both aircraft is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as we reduce capacity systemwide. Delta cut its overall active fleet by about half, parking more than 600 mainline and regional aircraft in the last two months. Delta has been able to react quickly to the COVID-19 crisis by parking aircraft and considering early retirements of older, less efficient airplanes.
The 149-seat MD-88 was previously set to retire by the end of 2020. As of February this year, prior to the coronavirus-driven fleet reduction, there were 47 MD-88s and 29 MD-90s operating. Both aircraft operated across much of Delta’s domestic network and have been workhorses for the airline.
Delta continues to evaluate its broader fleet plan and will consider additional aircraft retirements to focus on a modern, more simplified fleet going forward.