Laugh, I nearly wept. Northwest EVP strategy Neal Cohen is boasting about the youth of Northwest Airlines’ fleet. Yup, that’s the Northwest with the 110 DC-9s, dozen or so 747-200s, and recent home of the DC-10. Truly the darlings of East Hartford, but not really the rest of the world.I recall first writing about the question of whether Northwest would or would not replace the DC-9s in about 1997. But I see from the archive that in February 2001 my colleague Brendan Sobie wrote: Northwest Airlines has no plans to formulate anytime soon a replacement strategy for its aging McDonnell Douglas DC-9 fleet.
“The DC-9s are here to stay,” confirmed Northwest senior vice president and treasurer Daniel Matthews during Commercial Aviation Report’s Financing Opportunities conference in San Francisco this week. “We have no plans to retire them.”
I have particular affection for N915RW, born on 4 October 1967, and with more than 102,000 hours on the clock. But we should also salute N9338, a bit younger, but worked harder and now through 92,000 cycles.
Cohen’s ‘angels on a pinhead’ claim may have a kind of strange literal truth. But he does the industry a disservice with this sort of ludicrous argument. Air transport is struggling for credibility – this is really not helping.