Delta retired the last of its McDonnell Douglas aircraft Tuesday after carrying more than 750 million passengers on MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft.

The last MD-88 flight, appropriately named Delta Flight 88, landed at 10:04 a.m. in Atlanta from Washington Dulles. Delta Flight 90, the airline’s final MD-90 flight, landed in Atlanta at 8:46 a.m. from Houston Bush.

The retirement of both aircraft types was accelerated due to the Covid-19 crisis, which forced Delta to park more than half its fleet. Delta entered the pandemic with 47 MD-88s in operation and 29 MD-90s. The carrier had previously planned to retire its MD-88 fleet by the end of the year and its MD-90 fleet in 2022. 

Nicknamed the Mad Dogs, the McDonnell Douglas planes were for a long time the workhorses of Delta’s narrowbody fleet. Delta began flying the MD-88 in 1987 and operated as many as 120 of them. The carrier launched its first of an eventual 65 MD-90s in 1995. As recently as 2014, the two aircraft accounted for about 900 of Delta’s approximately 3,000 daily flights from its Atlanta home. 

With the MD-88 and MD-90 retirements, Delta’s remaining mid-size narrowbody fleet will be comprised entirely of Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s, A319s and A321s.

Delta will no longer fly any McDonnell Douglas jets, however the carrier continues to have a fleet of 91 Boeing 717s, a small mainline narrowbody that was designed by McDonnell Douglas and marketed as the MD-95 until 1999. 

Correction: Delta is currently flying Boeing 717s. A previous version of this report incorrectly stated they were parked.


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