Re: end of the line for the MD-11

Date:         26 Jun 98 02:37:52 
Organization: Deja News - The Leader in Internet Discussion
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In article <airliners.1998.923@ohare.Chicago.COM>,
  JF Mezei <> wrote:
> I suspect that the decision was made by Boeing before Boeing announced it
> would buy McD. I am sure Boeing did its homework and decided a lot of stuff
> before buying. But PR requires that you  carefully choose the time when you
> release "bad" news.

Six months ago, Boeing announced they would ax the MD-80/MD-90 but KEEP the
MD-11, to more or less everyone's surprise. If this was a ploy to "carefully
choose the time to release bad news" it certainly was a devilishly
complicated one. I certainly think that Boeing expected to shut down the
MD-11 when they made the merger, but then re-thought the idea when they made
a thorough review of the issue. And now have re-thought it again. Of course,
there may have been a lot going on behind the scenes. For example, it's
conceivable that the initial decision to maintain the MD-11 line was based on
someone's strong advocacy for that approach, tied to a promise to deliver
orders to justify it. When the orders didn't materialize, the decision was
reversed. Just speculating, mind you.

>     There *seems* to be a trend in commercial airlines making every
>     effort to dump their MD11s to anyone who would want them (aka:
>     FEDex). With used MD11s available second hand, and a limited market
>     to buy them, prospects for new sales are not good.

Well, let's see. AA and SR have sold theirs to FedEX, though it'll be several
years before they all go there. LTU sold theirs to Swissair. KE is (has?)
converting all of its MD-11s to freighters. Other than that, everyone still
has theirs. Garuda is looking to return its MD-11s, but that's primarily
because of its economic problems. And KLM and Alitalia are reviewing fleet
plans and may well choose to replace their MD-11s in the medium term. It's
hard to call anything a trend when there were so few operators to begin with,
but certainly it's not very positive overall.

> What I find interesting is that DC10 operators don't seem to try so hard to
> dump their DC10s whereas those who own MD11s seem more active at shedding
> them. Is this a correct observation?

Well, AA and UA have both sold their DC-10 fleets to FedEx. Large numbers are
already in storage. CO has sold all its DC-10-10s to Emery, and is already
planning to replace all its -30s with 777s and 767-400s. Every major European
airline that had DC-10s has replaced them, except for BA, who will do so next
year. Northwest is the solitary exception, with no plans to replace their
DC-10s that I'm aware of.

So I'd say DC-10s are also on their way out. But certainly the MD-11 will have
lasted a much shorter time in mainline service.

Stefano Pagiola
All opinions are my own.
850 N Randolph Str No.817, Arlington VA 22203, USA