April 4, 2013
Delta to upgrade MD-88 and MD-90 fleet
Delta Air Lines will outfit its fleet of 182 MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft as well as several flight simulators with standardized, state-of-the-art glass cockpits and GPS navigation that will improve efficiency, reduce environmental impact and position the airline to take advantage of procedural improvements outlined in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Next Generation Air Transportation System. The enhanced avionics suite, developed by Innovative Solutions & Support, will allow the aircraft to fly shorter flight paths and take advantage of continuous-descent, Required Navigation Performance (RNAV) approaches to reduce fuel consumption, carbon emissions and noise levels — a primary objective of NextGen. The addition of GPS capabilities as well as the incorporation of Data Link and ADS-B will allow pilots to fly safer as the three systems aid flight crews in identifying nearby air traffic, weather and terrain on flat panel displays in the cockpit. Due to the lighter weight of the new equipment, Delta will see an immediate improvement in fuel economy while long-lasting benefits from the new flight decks include reductions in CO2 emissions by 80 million pounds annually and a 50% decrease in the aircraft noise footprint once NextGen procedures are fully implemented. The standardized flight decks will improve situational awareness for flight crews and are expected to increase operational flexibility, simplify maintenance and improve dispatch and on-time reliability.