Almost 50 years after it became the first U.S. airline to fly twin-engine DC-9s, Delta Air Lines retired the last of those venerable aircrafts from its commercial service Monday, January 6.
Delta operated its final DC-9 passenger plane, the oldest passenger aircraft in the fleet of the big US airlines, from Minneapolis to Atlanta Monday evening.
The final round trip flight bore the designation flight number Delta 1965— the first year the model entered commercial service—on its way from Atlanta to Minneapolis, and Delta 2014 on its return flight. Delta was the last major U.S. carrier to fly the DC-9, the company said.
A Proud Flight History
The airline company had retired its original DC-9s in 1993, but acquired others in its merger with Northwest Airlines in 2008, the company said.
McDonnell Douglas, which merged with Boeing in 1997, delivered the first DC-9s in 1965, and eventually built 976 in total. The aerospace manufacturer built the last of the T-tail aircraft in 1982. The DC-9 has been replaced by similar-looking successor models such as the MD-88 and Boeing 717 since then.
At one time, the planes made up almost one-third of Northwest’s fleet. As of Monday, Delta was down to its last six. It’s keeping two planes as spares for a few more weeks, the company said.