The Douglas DC-9 is a twin-engined jet airliner, first manufactured in 1965 and, in much modified form and under a succession of different names, still in production today as the Boeing 717.
Douglas launched the DC-9 development project in April 1963, intending the DC-9 as a short-range companion to their larger four engined DC-8. Unlike the competing but slightly larger Boeing 727, which used as many 707 components as possible, the DC-9 was an all-new design, using two rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT8D fanjet engines, a small, highly efficient wing, and a T-tail. The original version had five abreast seating for 70 to 90.
The DC-9 prototype flew in February 1965 and entered service with Delta Air Lines in December of that year. It was an immediate commercial success, and 976 were built by Douglas who then merged with McDonnell Douglas (MDC). In 1983 the world saw the advent of the DC-9-80 series (MD-80) which was a lengthened DC-9-50 with a higher MTOW ( maximum take-off weight ) and the ability to carry more fuel. The MD-80 was then developed into the MD-90 family. The MD-90 sports IAE V2500 engines and a glass cockpit as the MD-88 does. The last variant of the family was the MD-95, which is now marketed as the Boeing 717-200, in light of the merge between MDC and Boeing in 1997.
With total sales of over 2400 units, the long-lived DC-9 family is one of the most successful jet airliners ever made, ranking third behind the Boeing 737 (over 5100) and Airbus A320 family (just under 3000).
AirTran's Fleet of DC-9s and 737 Aircraft:
The World's Most Durable Aircraft...
The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 and the Boeing 737 aircraft have proven themselves to be among the most durable and reliable jet aircraft ever built. Referred to as the "workhorses" of the aviation industry, the DC-9 and 737 continue to be the world's most reliable aircraft, as evidence by AirTran's strong on-time, completion and dispatch reliability figures. A few facts about the DC-9 and 737:
- Approximately 850 DC-9s are currently in service at 66 airlines around the globe. Northwest Airlines has the largest number of DC-9s in its fleet. According to Northwest's chief safety officer, "the DC-9 is the most reliable aircraft we own, with the best maintenance reliability of any aircraft type in Northwest's fleet. A 1989 McDonnell Douglas study concluded that "in summary, all available data from service, testing and analytical studies conclude that with proper maintenance and inspections the life of the DC-9 airplane is well beyond 100,000 flights, and is ... limited only by economics." The 737 is the best selling commercial jetliner of all time. More than 2,700 have been delivered to more than 250 customers in 95 countries.
- The 737 fleet has made more than 62 million flights and has a dispatch reliability rate of 99.4 percent.