McDonnell Douglas MD-90

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"MD-90" redirects here. For the state highway, see Maryland Route 90.
BritishJET MD-90-30 landing at Gatwick Airport near London
Role Airliner
National origin United States
Manufacturer McDonnell Douglas
Boeing Commercial Airplanes
First flight February 22, 1993
Introduction 1995 with Delta Air Lines
Status In service
Primary users Delta Air Lines
Uni Air
Produced 1993–2000
Number built 116[1]
Unit cost
US$41.5–48.5 million
Developed from McDonnell Douglas MD-80
Variants McDonnell Douglas MD-94X

The McDonnell Douglas MD-90 is a twin-engine, short- to medium-range, single-aisle commercial jet aircraft. The MD-90 was developed from the MD-80 series. Differences from the MD-80 include more fuel efficient International Aero Engines V2500 engines and a longer fuselage. The MD-90 has a seating capacity of up to 172 passengers and was introduced into service with Delta Air Lines in 1995.

The MD-90 and the subsequent MD-95/Boeing 717 were derivatives of the MD-80 which, itself, was a derivative commercially introduced in 1980 from the DC-9.

Design and development[edit]


The Douglas Aircraft Company developed the DC-9 in the 1960s as a short-range companion to their larger DC-8.[2] The DC-9 was an all-new design, using two rear fuselage-mounted turbofan engines, and a T-tail. The DC-9 has a narrow-body fuselage design with a 5-abreast seating with a capacity of 80 to 135 passengers depending on seating arrangement and aircraft version.

The second generation of the DC-9 was originally called the DC-9-80 series or the DC-9 Super 80 but later marketed as the MD-80[3] and entered service in 1980. McDonnell Douglas began studies into shorter derivatives of the MD-80 in 1983, these studies eventually becoming known as the MD-90. While for several years, McDonnell Douglas proposed powering the MD-90 with two propfan engines, by 1989, it was clear that there was insufficient interest in prop fan powered aircraft, and reworked their proposals to feature the IAE V2500 turbofan instead.[4]


The MD-90 was firmly launched on November 14, 1989, when Delta Air Lines placed an order for 50 MD-90s, with options for a further 110 aircraft.[4] The aircraft first flew on February 22, 1993 and the first MD-90 was delivered to Delta in February 1995.[5] The MD-90 was produced adjacent to the Long Beach Airport in Long Beach, California, USA, though two aircraft were produced at Jiangwan Airfield in Shanghai, People's Republic of China.[6]

International Aero Engines V2500 engine powering the MD-90

The MD-90 is a mid-size, medium-range airliner that was developed from the MD-80 series. It is a 5 feet (1.5 m) longer, updated version of the MD-88 with similar electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) and more powerful, quieter and fuel efficient IAE V2500 engines instead of the JT8D engines, which power the MD-80 series. This made the MD-90 the first derivative variant of the DC-9 to use a high-bypass turbofan engine. Typical seating for the MD-90 ranges from 153 to 172 passengers, depending on the cabin configuration and interior layout.[7]

The MD-90 was produced in two versions: -30 and -30ER. The -30 has a range of 2,400 miles (3,860 km). The -30ER has a higher gross weight and range up to 2,750 miles (4,426 km) with an auxiliary fuel tank. An even longer range version, the -50, was offered but was never ordered.[8]

The initial MD-90s feature an EFIS cockpit similar to the MD-88's cockpit.[9] The 29 MD-90s delivered to Saudi Arabian Airlines feature a full glass cockpit with avionics and an overhead display panel similar to the MD-11's cockpit for easy transition for the airline's pilots of the MD-11, also operated by the airline.[9][10]

Nordic Leisure MD-90

No MD-90 orders were received after Boeing and McDonnell Douglas merged in 1997 due to internal competition with Boeing's 737.[11] Delta Air Lines had initially placed a large order for the MD-90 to replace some aging Boeing 727s. After the Boeing-McDonnell Douglas merger, Delta canceled their remaining 19 MD-90 orders in favor of the Boeing 737-800.[11][12] A total of 40 MD-90s (later 20) were to be assembled under contract in Shanghai, People's Republic of China under the Trunkliner program,[13][14] but Boeing's decision to phase out the MD-90 resulted in only two built by Shanghai Aircraft.[15]

MD-90 production at Long Beach, California ended in 2000 with the last airplane being delivered to Saudi Arabian Airlines,[11] and MD-90T production at Shanghai ended in 2000. With 116 MD-90 aircraft produced, the MD-90 production run was the smallest among the DC-9 family.[1]

Following the MD-90 in the DC-9 family was the MD-95, which was renamed the Boeing 717-200 after McDonnell Douglas (successor to Douglas Aircraft Company) merged with Boeing in 1997.[16] The main competitors of the MD-90 included the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737-800.


Japan Airlines MD-90
Basic variant with two V2500 engines and an EFIS cockpit.
Increased Gross Weight version, one built.
Extended Range (ER) version of MD-90-30, two built.
MD-90-30T "Trunkliner"
Variant of the MD-90-30 assembled by Shanghai Aviation Industrial Corporation in the People's Republic of China. Production was initially planned to be 40,[17] later reduced to 20,[18] with only two built in the end.[19] To accommodate the heavy aircraft on unsuitable runways, a dual tandem landing gear with more tires to spread the weight of the aircraft was designed for the Trunkliner,[20] but ultimately not used in the two aircraft produced.[21] The COMAC ARJ21 is built using tooling retained by the Chinese after the end of the Chinese MD-90-30 program.[22]


Glass cockpit of a Saudi Arabian Airlines MD-90

Major airlines that have operated the MD-90 include Delta Air Lines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Japan Airlines, and Scandinavian Airlines.[23] A total of 71 MD-90 aircraft (all variants) were in airline service as of December 2014.[24]

Country Airline In fleet
United States Delta Air Lines 65
Taiwan EVA Air 4
Taiwan UNI Air 2
Total 71

Former Operators[citation needed]

Country Airline In fleet
Aruba Air Aruba 3
United States American Airlines 5
Finland Blue1 5
Switzerland Hello 6
Indonesia Lion Air 5
Japan Japan Airlines 16
Japan Japan Air System 16
Sweden Nordic Airways 1
Saudi Arabia Saudia 29
Saudi Arabia Saudi Royal Flight 1
Sweden Scandinavian Airlines 8
Total 95


Type Total 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995
MD-90-30 113 3 13 34 25 25 13
MD-90-30ER 1 1
MD-90-30T 2 2
Total 116 5 13 34 26 25 13

Incidents and accidents[edit]

As of August 2010, the MD-90 has been involved in three incidents,[26] including one hull-loss accident,[27] with 1 fatality.[28]

Notable accidents and incidents
  • On August 24, 1999 a UNI Air MD-90 caught fire after a passenger's carry-on luggage containing gasoline was ignited by a motorcycle battery contained in another passenger's carry-on luggage. One person was killed and 28 injured as a result of the cabin fire. The aircraft was damaged beyond economic repair.[29]


MD-90-30 MD-90-30ER
Passengers 153 (2 class)
172 (1 class)
Max Take-off Weight 156,000 lb
(70,760 kg)
168,000 lb
(76,204 kg)
Take off run at MTOW 7450 ft (2,270 m)
Range 2,085 nmi (3,860 km) 2,172 nmi (4,023 km)
*2,389 nmi (4,424 km)
Cruise Speed, typical Mach 0.76 (504 mph, 811 km/h)
Length 152 ft 7 in
(46.5 m)
Wing span 107 ft 10 in
(32.87 m)
Height 30 ft 6 in
(9.4 m)
Power plant (2 x) IAE V2525-D5
25,000 lbf (111.21 kN)
Optional: IAE V2528-D5
28,000 lbf (124.55 kN)

Note: * With extra 565 gallon auxiliary fuel tank.
Sources: Boeing,[30][31][32]

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ a b Orders and Deliveries search page, The Boeing Company. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  2. ^ Norris, Guy and Wagner, Mark. Douglas Jetliners. MBI Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0-7603-0676-1.
  3. ^ History - Chronology - 1977-1982. The Boeing Company. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  4. ^ a b Swanborough 1993, p.90.
  5. ^ MD-90 Background. The Boeing Company. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  6. ^ Shanghai Jiangwan Airfield. Global Security. Retrieved: 2008-12-09.
  7. ^ Technical Characteristics -- MD-90 Series. Boeing.
  8. ^ MD-90 page, Retrieved 2008-12-08.
  9. ^ a b Becher 2002, p. 105.
  10. ^ Saudia Calls for Honeywell Flat Panel Cockpit Displays for New MD-90s. Honeywell. February 6, 1996. Retrieved: 2008-12-08.
  11. ^ a b c Becher 2002, pp. 102-105.
  12. ^ Delta's 1997 Annual Report, Delta Air Lines. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
  13. ^ China Northern Airlines Receives First MD-90 Aircraft, The Boeing Company. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
  14. ^ Manufacturing Processes, Changes to the Trunkliner Program
  15. ^ Boeing in China, The Boeing Company. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
  16. ^ Boeing Chronology, 1997-2001, Boeing
  17. ^ Mintz, J., Sale of Aircraft Machinery to China Shows Perils of Exporting Technology, Washington Post, June 7, 1998. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  18. ^ China Northern Airlines Receives First MD-90, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, July 26, 1996. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  19. ^ Becher 2002, p. 104.
  20. ^ Bailey, J., "China: Boeing argues MDC lead". Flight International, May 1–7, 1991. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  21. ^ and Boeing MD-90/90 Forecast International. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  22. ^ Burchell, Bill. "Setting Up Support For Future Regional Jets". Aviation Week, October 13, 2010.
  23. ^ MD-90 Statistics. Retrieved: April 7, 2012.
  24. ^ "Aircraft and Fleet Lists -". Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  25. ^ Order and Deliveries - User Defined Reports. boeing
  26. ^ McDonnell Douglas MD-90 incidents., August 4, 2010.
  27. ^ McDonnell Douglas MD-90 Accident summary., August 4, 2010.
  28. ^ McDonnell Douglas MD-90 Accident Statistics., August 4, 2010.
  29. ^ MD-90 UNI Air accident on August 24, 1999. Retrieved: August 9, 2010.
  30. ^ MD-90 characteristics. Boeing
  31. ^ MD-90 airport report. Boeing
  32. ^ MD-90 specs.
  • Becher, Thomas. Douglas Twinjets, DC-9, MD-80, MD-90 and Boeing 717. The Crowood Press, 2002. ISBN 1-86126-446-1.
  • Swanborough, Gordon. "A 'Ninety for the 'Nineties". Air International, August 1993, Vol 45 No 2. Stamford, UK:Key Publishing. pp. 90–95

External links[edit]