Three happy reasons why Alaska retired MD80s

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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