THREE MCDONNELL Douglas MD-90s entered service with launch customer Delta Airlines on 2 April. The aircraft are based at Dallas/Fort Worth, where Delta has a major McDonnell Douglas MD-88 crew base, and pilots are being trained to fly both types, resulting in increased scheduling flexibility and reduced training costs, the carrier says.

Powered by two International Aero Engines, V2500 turbo-fans, the 150-seat MD-90-30 is particularly suited to operations in mountainous regions and at hot-and-high or noise-sensitive airports, Delta says.

Tests have been completed at noise-sensitive Orange County, California, and the aircraft has been exempted from operating restrictions there. McDonnell Douglas (MDC) MD-90 programme manager Grace Robertson says that the aircraft is a cumulative 24EPNdB below Stage 3 noise limits and 11EPNdB below proposed Stage 4 limits.

Delta is planning an utilisation rate of 10.3h per day, per aircraft, from entry into service. MDC says, that it has guaranteed the carrier a 98.4% dispatch reliability, from onset of service.

Delta has firm orders for 31 MD-90-30s and options on 106 more. MDC has firm orders for 74 aircraft from six customers, although the company believes that European launch customer Scandinavian Airlines System may have traded its six yet-to-be-delivered aircraft to Boeing as part of its order for 35 737-600s.

Source: Flight International