Last Flight Will Be HNL-MSP
They're some of the oldest aircraft in any domestic passenger
carrier's fleet... and soon, they'll be retired. Northwest Airlines
announced Wednesday that over the next seven months, it will
accelerate the retirement of its remaining 12 DC10-30 aircraft in
Northwest will replace the trijets with new Airbus A330s, as
well as Boeing 747-400 aircraft being returned to service.
Currently, seven routes are served with the DC10.
"The retirement of the DC10 is another milestone in the
transformation of Northwest," said Phil Haan, executive vice
president of international, alliances and information technology
and chairman of NWA Cargo. "For our customers, employees and the
communities we serve, this clearly shows that the Northwest of the
future is about becoming a more cost-efficient airline operating
aircraft that provide greater comfort for travelers."
Most of Northwest's existing international routes already offer
A330 service... but by October 31, the carrier will convert all of
those runs to A330-only.
In fact, after that date the only DC10 still in operation for
Northwest will be on its daily run from Minneapolis/St. Paul to
Honolulu flight... and that route will be switched to the A330
(below) on January 8, 2007.
The transition to the A330 will mark the official retirement of
the DC10 from scheduled service at Northwest.
It's not difficult to see why Northwest is retiring the DC10s.
The A330 provides the carrier with up to 30 percent in fuel
savings, as well lower maintenance costs. As an example, Northwest
cites its Minneapolis/St. Paul - Amsterdam route, on which the A330
can carry 25 more passengers, yet consume 6,100 fewer gallons
(23,090 liters) of fuel each way, than the DC10.
The A330 is also a far
quieter aircraft, for both passengers and bystanders alike, than
the DC10-30 it replaces.
As far as the carrier's Asia/Pacific runs, at this time
Northwest's plan is to replace the DC10s currently in Asia/Pacific
service with three Boeing 747-400s being returned to service. The
747-400s will replace DC10s currently flying between Tokyo and
Honolulu on July 9, and between Osaka, Japan and Honolulu by
Northwest began operating the DC10 in 1972, when the first
aircraft from an order placed in 1968 for new 22 aircraft arrived.
The airline was one of a small number of carriers to fly the
DC10-40 version. The first route for the 236-passenger aircraft was
Flight 72, from the Twin Cities to Milwaukee, and on to Tampa,
In 1989, Northwest began acquiring the 273-seat DC10-30,
primarily for trans-Atlantic service. Northwest's DC10 fleet peaked
in size at 45 aircraft in 2001, consisting of 21 DC10-40s and 24
DC10-30s. It retired the last of its DC10-40s in late 2002.
The airline's remaining 12 DC10 aircraft in service are all from
the -30 series, including five of the last six to be built at the
then McDonnell Douglas Long Beach, CA production facility.
The last scheduled DC10 flight for Northwest Airlines will be
Flight 98, currently scheduled to depart Honolulu at 6:25 p.m. on
January 7, 2007, and arrive in the Twin Cities at 6:03 am on
Book your tickets now, Aero-heads...