American to say adios to MD-80s in 2019


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American to say adios to MD-80s in 2019

American Airlines has set 2019 as the year it will retire its Boeing MD-80 fleet, replacing the venerable rear-engined aircraft with modern Boeing models.

While the MD-80 lacks the storied history and iconic shape of the likes of the retiring Boeing 747, it was a workhorse of American and other US carriers' domestic fleets from the 1980s through the early 2000s making it an everyday sight at airports around the country.
The US fleet of in-service MD-80s and MD-90s peaked at 683 in 2000, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. At the time, it was second only to the 1,077 Boeing 737 family aircraft - not including the DC-9 competitors the 737-100 and -200 - in US airline fleets.
American has said before that the MD-80 would exit its fleet by the end of the decade, but had not publicly stated a firm date until the announcement on 30 October that it will close its St Louis pilots base in September 2018 due to retirements of the aircraft. The St Louis base, which the airline acquired with Trans World Airlines (TWA) in 2001, only includes the MD-80.
Fort Worth-based American plans to finish 2017 with 45 MD-80s in its fleet, shrinking to 26 by the fall of 2018, a spokesman told FlightGlobal on 30 October.
All of the carrier's MD-80s will be based at its Dallas/Fort Worth hub once the St Louis pilot base closes.
The 140-seat aircraft is being replaced by 160-seat Boeing 737-800s.


American was the first major US carrier to commit to the MD-80 – if only tentatively at first – when it agreed to "rent" 20 from McDonnell Douglas in 1982, the Flight International archive shows. The airframer essentially leased the aircraft to the airline under a deal that allowed it to return the aircraft after five years with no penalty, or earlier with a cancellation charge.

Flight International, 9 April 1983

Prior to American's rental agreement, AirCal, the first Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Muse Air were the only US carriers operating the MD-80, Fleets Analyzer shows. TWA followed American with an order for 15 of the type later in 1982.
Initially, American planned to primarily use the MD-80 to replace Boeing 727-100s in its fleet, citing 37% better fuel efficiency for the former compared to the latter, the archive shows. However, it instead opted to use the aircraft for growth when it placed what at the time was its largest order ever for 167 MD-80s, including 67 firm and 100 options, in 1984.
With the 1984 deal, American had "firmly pinned its future" on the MD-80, Flight wrote in March 1984.

Fleets Analyzer

American's MD-80 fleet grew to 260 by 1993, the database shows. The count remained unchanged until 1999 when it increased to 279 following the acquisition of Reno Air, and then jumped to an all-time high of 362 in 2001 following American's merger with TWA.
American operated more than 300 MD-80s through 2007. The fleet has shrunk every year since as aircraft have been retired.


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American Airlines Announces Schedule of Final MD-80 Revenue Flights

Monday, June 24, 2019, 9:00 AM

On Sept. 4, American Airlines will retire its last 26 McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft. The MD-80, also known as the Super 80, was the workhorse of the airline’s fleet throughout the 1980s and beyond, providing customers and team members with heartfelt memories on adventures ranging from family vacations to key business trips. It’s a bittersweet but well-earned retirement as American celebrates the aircraft’s history while modernizing its fleet.

Below is the schedule of the final revenue flights on the “Mad Dog” before their desert farewell ferry flights to Roswell, New Mexico (ROW). All schedules are subject to change based on operational needs.

Flight Date Departure Time Arrival Time
1449 Sept. 3 GRR 1425 DFW 1606
2372 Sept. 3 SAT 1955 DFW 2110
2257 Sept. 3 MSY 1943 DFW 2122
1010 Sept. 3 DFW 2034 STL 2218
267 Sept. 3 DFW 2226 TUL 2329
2454 Sept. 4 ICT 0500 DFW 0615
2180 Sept. 4 AMA 0500 DFW 0618
2232 Sept. 4 LBB 0500 DFW 0627
2586 Sept. 4 PNS 0500 DFW 0656
2200 Sept. 4 CLE 0540 DFW 0732
2891 Sept. 4 VPS 0545 DFW 0754
2338 Sept. 4 MFE 0615 DFW 0755
2540 Sept. 4 OMA 0600 DFW 0758
2605 Sept. 4 RDU 0600 DFW 0758
2326 Sept. 4 DSM 0600 DFW 0800
2185 Sept. 4 SAT 0700 DFW 0814
2500 Sept. 4 CVG 0629 DFW 0802
1999 Sept. 4 STL 0730 DFW 0924
1538 Sept. 4 VPS 0719 DFW 0934
1038 Sept. 4 ICT 0810 DFW 0937
2335 Sept. 4 ABQ 0650 DFW 0938
80 Sept. 4 DFW 0900 ORD 1135