American Airlines keeps a single MD-80 for training

Sep 8, 2019

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In case you hadn’t heard, American Airlines has just retired its fleet of MD-80 aircraft, sending a whopping 26 airplanes to Roswell, N.M.’s aviation boneyard in a single day. And while much fanfare was made for the final event.

Preparations for the final flight included decking out the departure gate. Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
Preparations for the final flight included decking out the departure gate. Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

 

Doug Parker, American’s CEO, was presented the keys to the city of Roswell by the city’s mayor, Dennis Kintigh at the retirement ceremony. Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
Doug Parker, American’s CEO, was presented the keys to the city of Roswell by the city’s mayor, Dennis Kintigh at the retirement ceremony. Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

 

You can even add your name to a commemorative boarding pass celebrating the final flight of American Airlines’ MD-80 aircraft. Image courtesy of American Airlines
You can even add your name to a commemorative boarding pass celebrating the final flight of American Airlines’ MD-80 aircraft. Image courtesy of American Airlines

It turns out that there’s still a single MD-80 hanging around — tail number N9677W — which will be used to train crews on de-icing. While that’s not the most glamorous way for such a historic airplane to go, it’s certainly better than where the rest of its brethren have ended up. That is, of course, except for two special aircraft, currently located in Tulsa, with plans to move them to a museum in the future.

American Airlines’ love affair with the MD-80 is no secret, as the plane revolutionized short-haul flying for the airline, a testament to which AA kept faith, never repainting the planes away from their original, brushed metal livery. The company has owned almost every iteration of the MD-80, with its first flight with the aircraft taking place way back in 1983.

An MD-80 takes flight. Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy
An MD-80 takes flight. Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy

It makes me glad to know that there’s at least one MD-80 still out there, even if I can’t fly it. And if I ever miss it? Well, there’s always time for a visit to Tulsa.

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