Today (Tuesday 2nd June) Delta Air Lines MD-88 and MD-90 flew their final scheduled flights, before heading to Blytheville, Arkansas for their retirement. Both aircraft operated across much of Delta’s domestic network and have been workhorses for the airline for several decades, carrying more than 750 million customers during their operating lifespan.
The final MD-90 flight—aptly numbered DL90—arrived in Atlanta from Houston at 08:46. The final MD-88 flight, DL88, from Washington-Dulles arrived at 10:04.
The accelerated retirement schedule of both aircraft is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic ,as capacity is reduced systemwide. Delta cut their overall active fleet by about half, parking more than 600 mainline and regional aircraft in the last two months.
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.
While I couldn't be there on the last farewell flight of both types, I did have the pleasure of flying Delta MD-88 from Detroit to Atlanta in 2018 and took the feature image after a flight in the cockpit.
Check out this infographic highlighting the workhorses of Delta’s fleet. More interesting facts about both aircraft can be found here.