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The slow end of an era....the retirement of the AA MD-80

The slow end of an era....the retirement of the AA MD-80

Old Apr 14, 2015, 11:26 am
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The slow end of an era....the retirement of the AA MD-80

NBC News recently did a story on a "behind the scenes" look at the last passenger flight and last voyage of a slowly fading iconic symbol, and once the back bone, of American Airlines. Tail Number N595AA, a proud MD-80, was put to rest in Roswell, New Mexico. If anyone has ever been to this boneyard, it's quite the experience......

http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/...0-427447875912

Last edited by JDiver; May 23, 2016 at 8:06 am Reason: Restore original post title
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 11:44 am
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More sad to see the 757s, many fitted with winglets sitting there.
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 12:18 pm
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DL will be flying MD88/90s probably into the decade. The F cabin on the MD80s and the 2x3 seating will be missed. IIRC most of the 763s are just as old as many of the MD80s.
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 12:50 pm
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Originally Posted by AAerSTL
More sad to see the 757s, many fitted with winglets sitting there.

That was my reaction EXACTLY! I don't care about the S80s, but it was surprising to see winglet-fitted 757s sent to the desert. I thought the ones that received winglets (i.e. non-Eisenhower) were going to be kept in the fleet for a while longer?
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 1:00 pm
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Thanks for posting this - i missed the segment last night due to my screaming kids.
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by ESpen36
That was my reaction EXACTLY! I don't care about the S80s, but it was surprising to see winglet-fitted 757s sent to the desert. I thought the ones that received winglets (i.e. non-Eisenhower) were going to be kept in the fleet for a while longer?
738's are cheaper to run than a 757 and have better load factors on many routes (being slightly smaller), relegating the 757 to where the extra range (HNL) or bigger engines (UIO, among others) are an important factor.

Boeing executives have pointed out that with 15% of the fleet sitting in storage and no takers on a 787-3, they don't see a reason to immediately jump to replace the 757. Airbus is cooking up an A321 with range similar to a 757, but it won't have the payload capacity of the 757, and has an expected fuel burn at full load similar to a 787-8 at the same load - and the Dreamliner obviously has much more capacity.
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by ESpen36
That was my reaction EXACTLY! I don't care about the S80s, but it was surprising to see winglet-fitted 757s sent to the desert. I thought the ones that received winglets (i.e. non-Eisenhower) were going to be kept in the fleet for a while longer?
I could be mistaken but I think the plans to retire the 757s picked up considerably once the merger went through given the vast number of A321s in the combined fleet. Of course the 757s were never intended to remain in the fleet long term even under the standalone plan. I think the footage even showed the new style F seats being carried off a CIP'd 757.

What I also find odd is that AA has taken so long to complete the 757 CIP which was announced back in 2008, didn't commence until late 2009. For a while I think there was only one 24F 757, and it wasn't until 2011-2012 that the 24F seemed to be the norm. Once a considerable mass of the fleet had been modified they decide its time from them all to leave. I get long term strategic plans especially in the airline industry are subject to change but this just seems like lack of planning from the start.

Sad.
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 1:26 pm
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Originally Posted by ESpen36
That was my reaction EXACTLY! I don't care about the S80s, but it was surprising to see winglet-fitted 757s sent to the desert. I thought the ones that received winglets (i.e. non-Eisenhower) were going to be kept in the fleet for a while longer?
The 757s received winglets long ago - I remember flying a winglet-757 AUS-SJC in 2006.

Originally Posted by AAerSTL
What I also find odd is that AA has taken so long to complete the 757 CIP which was announced back in 2008, didn't commence until late 2009. For a while I think there was only one 24F 757, and it wasn't until 2011-2012 that the 24F seemed to be the norm. Once a considerable mass of the fleet had been modified they decide its time from them all to leave. I get long term strategic plans especially in the airline industry are subject to change but this just seems like lack of planning from the start.

Sad.
AA isn't retiring all 757s in a short time. I believe the oldest 757s were the first to be retired, and were not retrofitted. AA probably intended the 24F 757s to stick around until the end of decade, so makes the cost of retrofit worth it
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by AAerSTL
Sad.
Don't be sad.

As of last week there are 39 757 active that have been converted to 24F and 6 in the old 22F config.
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 3:08 pm
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Originally Posted by ESpen36
That was my reaction EXACTLY! I don't care about the S80s, but it was surprising to see winglet-fitted 757s sent to the desert. I thought the ones that received winglets (i.e. non-Eisenhower) were going to be kept in the fleet for a while longer?

Don't all of AA'a 757s have winglets? I can't remember the last time I was on one that didn't have winglets.

As for the S80's.... Buh-bye!! I hated the overhead bins. I hated being in the back-end on one of those.
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 3:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Fanjet

Don't all of AA'a 757s have winglets? I can't remember the last time I was on one that didn't have winglets.

As for the S80's.... Buh-bye!! I hated the overhead bins. I hated being in the back-end on one of those.
IIRC the 757s were all retrofitted a few years back, maybe 2010-2011. The 738s were completed first, then the 757s and slowly the 763s (with some still not retrofitted.) I saw my first retrofitted 763 at GIG in 2009 or maybe 2010.
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Austin787
AA isn't retiring all 757s in a short time. I believe the oldest 757s were the first to be retired, and were not retrofitted. AA probably intended the 24F 757s to stick around until the end of decade, so makes the cost of retrofit worth it
The reason so many AA 757-200's are being shelved is because between the US and AA fleets there are a lot of them, and it's a very niche aircraft (although one I'm rather fond of). Its primary selling points over the 738 or A321 are slightly improved range, better high/dry performance, and ETOPS. The primary selling point over a 787-8 is very slightly lower fuel burn, and that you already own them.

But back OT, I do miss flying the MD-80's out of LGA to ORD. They were more comfortable, even in regular coach, than then 737's are today in MCE.

They have great short haul fuel performance, which is why DL likes them so much, but as a passenger, I liked them because they always landed early and gave me that little bit of extra room in my seat.
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 4:08 pm
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As far as ETOPS certification, can't the 738 fly California-Hawaii? I think AS does it.
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 7:08 pm
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Originally Posted by ESpen36
As far as ETOPS certification, can't the 738 fly California-Hawaii? I think AS does it.
AS flies from SEA to HNL. The 738 can be ETOPS certified, but AA's are not (AS needs ETOPS even to get to ANC). Also, the prevailing wind patterns are different, so despite the longer distance, you don't run into westbound weight restrictions part of the year.

Last edited by jec6613; Apr 14, 2015 at 7:16 pm
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Old Apr 14, 2015, 7:57 pm
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Originally Posted by jec6613
The reason so many AA 757-200's are being shelved is because between the US and AA fleets there are a lot of them, and it's a very niche aircraft (although one I'm rather fond of). Its primary selling points over the 738 or A321 are slightly improved range, better high/dry performance, and ETOPS. The primary selling point over a 787-8 is very slightly lower fuel burn, and that you already own them.
This isn't entirely factually correct. The 787 has a much better burn rate. The function the 757 serves is very unique. Hot /high airports and long thin routes are its forte.
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