Some American MD-80s are enrolling in college this semester

Dec 19, 2019

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Earlier this year, American Airlines retired its fleet of McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 aircraft.

The planes were a workhorse for American, having served short and medium-haul routes for the airline since the 1980s.

While the retirement signaled the end of the MD-80 era at American — the airline invested in more modern, fuel efficient aircraft — some of the planes will carry on with a new purpose.

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Most of American’s MD-80s were sent to long-term storage in Roswell, New Mexico, but two of them will be sent to aviation-maintenance schools to help students learn their craft.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
MD-80 cockpit. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

American announced Thursday that one plane would go to CareerTech in Oklahoma City, and another to Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, this week.

“As we look to the future of American’s tech ops work force, it’s important to train the next generation of aviation maintenance students so we have a development pipeline for skilled technicians,” Kevin Brickner, American’s senior vice president of technical operations, said in a statement. “Just like the MD-80 inspired our own team members in their career development for more than 35 years, the aircraft will do the same for students for years to come.”

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

Even before the full MD-80 fleet was retired, American started donating some planes of the type to technical schools and other educational venues as individual aircraft were removed from service. The first, in 2009, went to Miguel Such Vocational School in San Juan. Others have gone to schools and museums elsewhere in Puerto Rico, Oklahoma and Florida.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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