Launch customer Finnair reports that flight AY022 from Delhi to Helsinki on Monday 22 February is the final scheduled flight for its passenger MD-11 aircraft. The carrier says there is a possibility the aircraft may join its freighter fleet.
The retirement leaves KLM as the only scheduled operator of MD-11s, with 10 in service, according to Flightglobal’s ACAS database. Non-scheduled carrier World Airways has four passenger MD-11s in service.
On 7 December 1990 Finnair took delivery of the first MD-11 and on 20 December became the first airline to put the aircraft into service, flying the tri-jet from its Helsinki base to Spain’s Las Palmas, Finnair says.
At the time of delivery, McDonnell Douglas had high hopes for the MD-11. Douglas had 375 “commitments”, 174 of them firm orders, from 32 customers, worth $17.8b in 1990′s dollars.
Despite the backlog, Douglas had not seen any return from the programme, with Douglas president Robert Hood saying he expected the company to break-even on the MD-11 in three years. “We will see a considerable profit from this programme,” Hood said, explaining he expected orders to eventually surpass 400.
The MD-11′s life was cut short following the 1997 McDonnell Douglas-Boeing merger. In addition to a high fuel consumption rate, the MD-11 competed against Boeing’s new 777. That lead Boeing to discontinue the MD-11 passenger variant, offering a lone freighter version. The final passenger MD-11 was delivered to Sabena in April 1998.All together Douglas manufactured only 200 MD-11s.
Finnair reports its MD-11 fleet has has 400,000 flying hours andmore than 50,000 cycles. Its MD-11s have collectively carried approximately 14million passengers.
Airbus A330s and A340s, already in Finnair’s fleet, will replace the MD-11s. Finnair says the “new Airbus long-haul aircraft” consumer 20 per cent less fuel per passenger than the MD-11.
Last year Finnair MD-11 OH-LGG sported a special decal as football club FC Barcelona chartered a Finnair MD-11 for its US tour:
Final MD-11 Flight for Launch Customer Finnair
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