Delta's last DC-9 flight in January

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Delta Air Lines will operate its remaining McDonnell Douglas DC-9 for the last time on 6 January 2014, in the last flight of the type by a major US carrier.

The aircraft will depart Minneapolis-St Paul for Atlanta on a scheduled flight that day, says the SkyTeam carrier.

Delta was the launch customer for the original 65-seat variant of the DC-9 in 1965, and has operated 305 DC-9s since then.

The carrier in recent years phased out or retired more than 350 aircraft from its fleet, replacing them with newer and more efficient aircraft. The airline has started taking deliveries of 88 Boeing 717-200s formerly operated by Southwest Airlines subsidiary AirTran Airways, as well as orders of 100 Boeing 737-900ERs. It also has orders for 40 Airbus aircraft which includes 30 Airbus A321s.

"The DC-9 has been a workhorse in our domestic fleet while providing a reliable customer experience," says Nat Pieper, Delta's vice president - fleet strategy. "The aircraft's retirement paves the way for newer, more efficient aircraft."