McDonnell Douglas MD-90

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McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30, Japan Airlines - JAL AN2020984.jpg
Japan Airlines MD-90-30 on final approach at Tokyo Haneda Airport
Role Narrow-body jet 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
Saudi Arabian Airlines (historical)
Japan Airlines (historical)
EVA Air (historical)
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 airliner. 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 commercially introduced in 1980 as a derivative of 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.

China Eastern MD-90-30 showing a planform view

The MD-90 is a mid-size, medium-range airliner that was developed from the MD-80 series. It is a 5-foot-longer (1.5 m), 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. Due to the heavier engines, the pylons holding the engines featured flaps that deflect 30° downward to assist in pitching down for stall recovery. The system activates automatically when the control column is pushed fully forward.[6]

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]

Blue1 MD-90-30

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] Two aircraft were also produced at Jiangwan Airfield in Shanghai, People's Republic of China.[16]

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.[17] The main competitors of the MD-90 included the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737-800.


Base variant with two V2525-D5 engines and an EFIS cockpit similar to that of the MD-88. This engine also has an option to add 3,000lbf for use in Hot & High conditions if needed by activating a switch in the flight deck.
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,[18] later reduced to 20,[19] with only two built in the end.[20] 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,[21] but ultimately not used in the two aircraft produced.[22] The Comac ARJ21 is built using tooling retained by the Chinese after the end of the Chinese MD-90-30 program.[23]
Enhanced Flight Deck version of MD-90 with the same cockpit as MD-95/B717 and MD-11, 28 built.[citation needed]
A proposed variant with increased MTOW, and up-rated IAE V2528-D5 engines with 28,000 lbf thrust (engines up-rated via software upgrades to FADEC).[citation needed]


As of July 2018, Delta Air Lines is the sole remaining operator with 53 in service.[24]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

As of May 2018, the MD-90 has been involved in three incidents,[25] including one hull-loss accident,[26] with 1 fatality.[27]

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. 28 people were injured with one fatality as a result of the cabin fire. The aircraft was damaged beyond economic repair.[28][29]


Saudi Arabian Airlines MD-90 with a non-standard glass cockpit
International Aero Engines V2500 engine powering the MD-90
2 class seats 153-158 : 12J@36" + 141/146Y@31-33"
1 class seats 163-172Y@29-33"
Cargo 1,300 ft³ / 36.8 m³, ER: 1,177 ft³ / 33.3 m³
Length 152.6 ft / 46.51 m
Fuselage height 142 in / 361 cm[31]
Fuselage width 131.6 in / 334.2 cm
Wing span 107.8 ft / 32.86 m
Height 30.6 ft / 9.33 m
MTOW 156,000 lb / 70,760 kg, ER: 166,000 lb / 75,296 kg
Empty weight 88,200 lb / 40,007 kg, ER: 88,400 lb / 40,098 kg[a]
Max payload 41800 lb / 18960 kg, ER: 43600 lb / 19776 kg
Fuel Capacity 39,128 lb / 17,748 kg[b]
Turbofans (2 x) 25,000 lbf (111.21 kN) IAE V2525-D5[c]
VMO Mach 0.84 (506 kn; 937 km/h) at 27,240 ft (8,300 m)[32]
Cruise Mach 0.74, 438 kn (811 km/h) at 34,800 ft (10,600 m)[33]
Ceiling 37,000 ft (11,000 m)[32]
Range, 153 pax 2,045 nmi / 3,787 km, ER: 2,237 nmi / 4,143 km [d]
Takeoff 7000 ft / 2,100 m at 156,000 lb, ISA, SL[31]
  1. ^ with aux fuel tank: 89,188 lb / 40,455 kg
  2. ^ with aux fuel tank: 42,913 lb / 19,465 kg
  3. ^ Option: 28,000 lbf (124.55 kN) V2528-D5
  4. ^ 2,455 nmi / 4,547 km with extra 565 gallon auxiliary fuel tank

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


  1. ^ a b "Boeing: Commercial - Orders & Deliveries". Boeing. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  2. ^ Norris, Guy and Wagner, Mark. Douglas Jetliners. MBI Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0-7603-0676-1.
  3. ^ History - Chronology - 1977-1982 Archived March 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.. The Boeing Company. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  4. ^ a b Swanborough 1993, p.90.
  5. ^ "Boeing: Commercial Airplanes - MD-90 Background". Archived from the original on 2013-02-16. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Powerfully quiet" (PDF). Flight International. 26 October - 1 November, 1994: 37.
  7. ^ "Boeing: Commercial Airplanes - MD-90 Technical Characteristics". Archived from the original on 2013-03-08. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  8. ^ MD-90 page, Retrieved 2008-12-08. Archived 2008-03-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ a b Becher 2002, p. 105.
  10. ^ Saudia Calls for Honeywell Flat Panel Cockpit Displays for New MD-90s Archived 2008-07-27 at the Wayback Machine.. 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. Archived 2008-04-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Cox Report - May 25, 1999".
  15. ^ Boeing in China, The Boeing Company. Retrieved 2008-12-08. Archived 2008-10-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Shanghai Jiangwan Airfield. Global Security. Retrieved: 2008-12-09.
  17. ^ Boeing Chronology, 1997-2001 Archived January 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine., Boeing
  18. ^ Mintz, J., Sale of Aircraft Machinery to China Shows Perils of Exporting Technology, Washington Post, June 7, 1998. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  19. ^ China Northern Airlines Receives First MD-90, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, July 26, 1996. Retrieved 2008-12-09.[dead link]
  20. ^ Becher 2002, p. 104.
  21. ^ Bailey, J., "China: Boeing argues MDC lead". Flight International, May 1–7, 1991. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  22. ^ "Boeing MD-90/90". Forecast International. Retrieved 2008-12-09. Archived February 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Burchell, Bill. "Setting Up Support For Future Regional Jets". Aviation Week, October 13, 2010.[dead link]
  24. ^ "World Airline Census 2018". Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  25. ^ McDonnell Douglas MD-90 incidents., May 25, 2018.
  26. ^ McDonnell Douglas MD-90 Accident summary., May 25, 2018.
  27. ^ McDonnell Douglas MD-90 Accident Statistics., May 25, 2018.
  28. ^ MD-90 UNI Air accident on August 24, 1999. Retrieved: August 9, 2010.
  29. ^ "Accident Investigation Report UIA 873, B-17912MD-90-30 cabin explosion and fire during landing roll Hua-Lien, Taiwan" (PDF). August 24, 2000. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 14, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  30. ^ "MD-90" (PDF). Startup. Boeing. June 1, 2007.
  31. ^ a b "MD-90-30 airplane characteristics for airport planning" (PDF). Boeing. Oct 2002.
  32. ^ a b "Type Certificate Data Sheet" (PDF). FAA. March 25, 2014.
  33. ^ John Bailey (6 December 1989). "Douglas uses MD-80 to speed MD-90". Flight International.
  • 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]