American Retires 20 MD-80 Aircraft in One Day
American Airlines, once the largest operator of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft, retired 20 of the venerable jets on Tuesday.
“We told ourselves we weren’t going to cry! It’s a bittersweet day as we retire 20 of our MD-80s to make room for our new aircraft,” the airline said on its Facebook page.
The planes are being flown to the Roswell Air Center in New Mexico where they will either be used for parts or sold to other airlines.
In March 2015, the Fort Worth-based airline announced it would retire the entire MD-80 fleet by the end of 2017. The carrier has been replacing the plane with newer aircraft such as the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A319.
American first introduced its customers to what the manufacturer originally called the Super 80 in the early 1980s. “Share the excitement of this next step in aviation. A great airline and a great airplane for the Eighties. American’s Super 80,” read the airline’s June 1983 timetable.
While the planes were fuel efficient and high tech for the 1980s, time did march on and newer, more energy efficient aircraft became available.
“Over the last decade, the 737-800 has replaced the MD-80 as the backbone of the American fleet,” said American in a 2015 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
American will have 52 MD-80s left in its fleet at the end of the year, down from the roughly 400 it had when the plane was the mainstay of its domestic fleet.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)