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Friday, March 29, 2013

Goodbye, MD-90!

JAL MD-90 (JA8070) at Tokyo Haneda
JAL MD-90 (JA8070) at Tokyo Haneda. Image by Kentaro IEMOTO@Tokyo

As announced before, Japan Airlines (JAL) will be retiring its MD-90 fleet today (March 30 2013 JST) after first introducing the plane to its fleet 17 years ago. The last scheduled flight will be JL1614 from Hiroshima (HIJ) to Tokyo Haneda (HND). It is scheduled to depart from HIJ at 19:40 and arrive HND at 20:55.

In preparation for the MD-90 retirement, JAL has organized a retirement tour back in January. Recently it has painted a special message on front section of the fuselage on of JA8029, which still has the old Arc of The Sun livery, on March 7 2013. The message basically says, in Japanese, "Thank you for your 17 years of service, MD-90!" The message is 0.46m x 1.35m and it took 2 mechanics to complete the job. You can see how JAL painted the message on Japanese aviation news site Aviation Wire. I believe this will be the MD-90 JAL use to operate the last flight today. After its retirement, it will be painted white before delivering it to the buyer, which I believe is Delta Air Lines.

The retirement flight JL1614 has been completely sold out long time ago. There probably will be some special ceremony held at HND tonight. Expect to see JAL staffs holding banner to welcome the passengers at the apron.

For those who aren't lucky enough to score a seat or happened to be in Japan
Aviation Wire also has a 2-part story featuring JAL MD-90 before it disappears from the Japanese sky. They have interviewed a MD-90 captain and 2 mechanics and talked about stories behind the MD-90 including how it has encountered problems in its back then state-of-art electrical system when it was first introduced (ouch the situation sounds awfully family LOL). And there are lots of pictures up close of the MD-90. Here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2 of the story.

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