Three happy reasons why Alaska retired MD80s

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Herewith we present graphic evidence that pilots will certainly be pleased with Alaska Air’s retirements of its MD80 (right) fleet this week and its completion of a transition to an all-Boeing fleet. The 737NGs (below) that Alaska flies are just lots cleaner, less cluttered and better organized from a pilot perspective. Go to the other end of the plane, the MD80 engines, and there’s the real reason why management is pleased as well: the engines on the MD80s swallowed about 1,100 gallons of fuel per hour of flights; the 737-800s that replace them drink in about 850 an hour. Alaska was paying $4.19 a gallon in July, meaning that the MD80 costs about $4,600 to keep aloft for an hour. At $3,561 an hour, the 737-800 is about 30% more efficient. And the -800 carries more people (157, compared to 140), so the cost per-hour, per-passenger is $22.68, versus $32.92 on the MD80s. Alaska says it will save between $3 million and $4 million a year on fuel — and that doesn’t count savings on the maintenance of the nearly new 737-800s.
737900_k63473.jpg So here are the three reasons: the cockpit, the left engine, and the right engine.

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