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Delta retires last DC-9, oldest plane in US fleet

Delta Airlines
Delta Airlines

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (AP) -- Delta Air Lines is retiring its last DC-9s, the oldest passenger plane in the fleet of the big U.S. airlines. The plane that will fly Delta's final scheduled DC-9 passenger flight is 35 years old and was first delivered to North Central Airlines.

A series of airline mergers brought it to Delta. The final passenger flight is set for Minneapolis to Atlanta on Monday evening.

Delta is keeping two planes as spares for a few more weeks. Almost 1,000 DC-9s were built.

At one time they accounted for almost one-third of the fleet at Northwest Airlines, which Delta bought in 2008. Delta is known for buying used airplanes and flying them longer than other airlines.

Even Delta's DC-9 replacement is a hand-me-down-- used Boeing 717s from AirTran.