• SAS A350


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Copenhagen Airport, Oslo Gardermoen Airport, Stockholm Arlanda Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Airline Group:
    SAS Group

    Anko van der Werff

Readers familiar with Scandinavian Airlines’ fleet history will be aware of what a significant role the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 family played in its short-haul operations over the years. However, did you know that the carrier also flew eight examples of the MD-90 variant? Let’s take a look back at the story of these jets.

What was the MD-90?

Let’s start by looking at what exactly the MD-90 was and how it differed from the MD-80 series. A key contrast was its size, as the MD-90 was longer than the largest MD-80 variants. Indeed, it clocked in at 46.51 meters (153 feet) in length, compared to 45.06 meters (148 feet) for the MD-81, 82, 83, and 88 models. The rear-engined aircraft also benefited from the presence of a glass cockpit at the front of the jet.

As far as the MD-90’s engines were concerned, these also represented an upgrade compared to older models. Specifically, the jet was powered by IAE V2500 turbofans, which were quieter and more fuel efficient (despite being more powerful) than the Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines found on the MD-80.

McDonnell Douglas launched the MD-90 in November 1989, with Delta Air Lines placing its first order. It first flew in February 1993 and entered service (with Delta) in February 1995. The following year, SAS received its first MD-90s.

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Blue1 MD-90

Finnish carrier Blue1 received the majority of SAS’s MD-90s. Photo: Mark Harkin via Flickr

A burst of 1990s arrivals

According to data from ATDB.aero, the exact date that SAS’s maiden MD-90, which bore the registration SE-DMF, came onboard was October 16th, 1996. By the end of that month, a second had arrived, namely the Danish-registered OY-KIL. November 14th, 1996 saw the first Norwegian-registered MD-90 (LN-ROA) arrive, with the 29th of that month also seeing SE-DMG come onboard.

SAS ended 1996 in style when it came to MD-90 deliveries, receiving two (LN-ROB and OY-KIM) on consecutive days (December 19th and 20th). Interestingly, the six MD-90s that joined SAS in 1996 had consecutive manufacturer serial numbers. These ranged from 53,457 to 53,462.

Deliveries of the MD-90 to SAS then took a brief hiatus, eventually resuming on July 30th, 1997, when SE-DMH arrived at the carrier. It was followed less than a month later by the final arrival (OY-KIN) on August 26th, 1997.

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Hello MD-90

Swiss charter carrier Hello received SAS’s remaining three MD-90s. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

Where did they end up?

All in all, Scandinavian Airlines operated the McDonnell Douglas MD-90 for just over 11 years. However, certain aircraft had shorter tenures, with, curiously, the two newest examples departing first. They left the carrier after just under eight years, in March 2005, to join Blue1, a Finnish subsidiary of the SAS Group.

November 2005 saw four more departures, with these split two-apiece between Blue1 and Swiss charter carrier Hello. LN-ROB lasted almost a decade at SAS, eventually leaving for Hello in February 2006. Funnily enough, Scandinavian Airlines kept its first MD-90 for the longest, with SE-DMF joining Blue1 in December 2007. This brought an end to SAS’s 11-year relationship with the type.

What do you make of the story of Scandinavian Airlines’ McDonnell Douglas MD-90 fleet? Did you ever fly on one of these aircraft yourself? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Source: simpleflying.com

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