American Airlines retires last of its 'workhorse' MD-80 fleet
There was nothing stopping this American Airlines employee from dancing. Storyful
An era ended at American Airlines on Wednesday as the airline retired the remaining 26 planes of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 fleet to Roswell, New Mexico.
Kerry Philipovitch, senior vice president of customer experience at American Airlines told USA TODAY that the MD-80 is an important part of the airline's history.
"The MD-80 was really the backbone of the American Airlines fleet for decades," Philipovitch said.
The MD-80 is also called the "Super 80" by American Airlines or "Mad Dog" by aviation enthusiasts. It was the "workhouse" of their fleet for close to four decades, American Airlines said in a news release. According to SeatGuru, the newest American Airlines configuration of the MD-80 had 140 passenger seats.
Joshua Freed, spokesperson for American Airlines told USA TODAY that the MD-80 flew domestic routes all over the country.
Originally, the fleet began as a group of just three planes in 1983. They served airports in six cities, including Dallas/Fort Worth; Detroit; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; New York LaGuardia; and Ontario, California. At the time of its introduction, the Super 80 was one of the most fuel-efficient commercial planes in the skies.
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By 2003 American Airlines, the first to introduce the aircraft to its fleet, was operating 362 MD-80 airplanes, nearly one-third of all of MD-80 planes ever to be created by manufacturer McDonnell Douglas, according to the release.
At one point MD-80 planes made up 49% of AA’s fleet, Andrew Trull, a spokesperson for American Airlines, told USA TODAY.
"The 26 planes we are retiring today carried more than 87 million passengers in their years of service," Trull said.
On Wednesday, the final MD-80 passenger flight, American Flight 80, flew from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for the last time bound for Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, according to the release. Then, pilots ferried the plane to its resting place, an aircraft storage facility in Roswell, Freed said.
Steve Cutler, an employee at Boeing, posted a photo of his pilot father with an MD-80 in commemoration of the farewell flights.
Flying, Cutler said, is a big part of the family lineage. Before his father, his grandfather was a pilot. And because of his father and grandfather, he found his own passion for airplanes.
"I'm obviously emotional about it, I'm proud of my dad for flying the aircraft and sticking it out until its end," he said.
Chris Cutler, Steve's father, told USA TODAY that he flew the MD-80 for about 26 years. Through 16,000 hours of flying, he never had any trouble with the model.
"I've enjoyed flying it," the elder Cutler said. "It's a really good airplane, very solid, dependable."
American Airlines adding first flights: @MorganEmHines.