The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 (initially the Douglas DC-9) is a single-aisle airliner designed by the Douglas Aircraft Company. After introducing its heavy DC-8 in 1959, Douglas approved the smaller, all-new DC-9 for shorter flights on April 8, 1963. The DC-9-10 first flew on February 25, 1965 and gained its type certificate on November 23, to enter service with Delta Air Lines on December 8. With five seats across in economy, it had two rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofans under a T-tail for a cleaner wing, a two-person flight deck and built-in airstairs.
During the 1950s Douglas Aircraft studied a short- to medium-range airliner to complement their higher capacity, long range DC-8. (DC stands for Douglas Commercial.) A medium-range four-engine Model 2067 was studied but it did not receive enough interest from airlines and it was abandoned. In 1960, Douglas signed a two-year contract with Sud Aviation for technical cooperation. Douglas would market and support the Sud Aviation Caravelle and produce a licensed version if airlines ordered large numbers. None were ordered and Douglas returned to its design studies after the cooperation deal expired
|Role||Narrow-body jet airliner|
|Manufacturer||Douglas Aircraft Company |
|First flight||February 25, 1965|
|Introduction||December 8, 1965, with Delta Air Lines|
|Status||In limited service|
|Primary users||USA Jet Airlines|
Northwest Airlines (historical)
Delta Air Lines (historical)
|Variants||McDonnell Douglas C-9|
|Developed into||McDonnell Douglas MD-80 |
McDonnell Douglas MD-90
A total of 30 DC-9 aircraft (all variants) were in commercial service as of July 2018. Operators include Aeronaves TSM (8), USA Jet Airlines (6), Everts Air Cargo (4), Ameristar Charters (4) and other operators with fewer aircraft.
Delta Air Lines, since acquiring Northwest Airlines, has operated a fleet of DC-9 aircraft, most over 30 years old. With severe increases in fuel prices in the summer of 2008, Northwest Airlines began retiring its DC-9s, switching to Airbus A319s that are 27% more fuel efficient. As the Northwest/Delta merger progressed, Delta returned several stored DC-9s to service. Delta Air Lines made its last DC-9 commercial flight from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Atlanta on January 6, 2014 with the flight number DL2014.
With the existing DC-9 fleet shrinking, modifications do not appear to be likely to occur, especially since the wing design makes retrofitting difficult. DC-9s are therefore likely to be further replaced in service by newer airliners such as Boeing 737, Airbus A320, Embraer E-Jets, and the Bombardier CSeries.
The DC-9 was followed by the introduction of the MD-80 series in 1980. This was originally called the DC-9-80 series. It was a lengthened DC-9-50 with a higher maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), a larger wing, new main landing gear, and higher fuel capacity. The MD-80 series features a number of variants of the Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofan engine having higher thrust ratings than those available on the DC-9. The series includes the MD-81, MD-82, MD-83, MD-88, and shorter fuselage MD-87.