American Airlines Retire One Of Their Favorite Planes

Wednesday, September 4th 2019, 11:48 pm
By: Justin Shrair

It's the end of an era for American Airlines' MD-80 aircraft as the airline retires its entire fleet of MD-80's.

The company flew the iconic plane for more than three decades.  At one point in time, American Airlines had more than 350 MD-80s in the air. These planes were at one time the workhorse of the airline mechanics said it's a sad day.

Osage Sky News 6 HD had an up close and personal view as one of the final MD-80 flights left Tulsa International Airport Wednesday. Crew Chiefs Dave Linko and Kevin Swanson worked on the planes for a combined 40 years.

"It’s just built very well, I loved it,” said American Airlines Avionics Crew Chief, Kevin Swanson.

"It was a fixture around here for so many years," said Crew Chief of Aircraft Overhall Dave Linko.

American Airlines said the MD-80s served passengers from around the United States for 36 years. Today the final 28 MD-80s were retired, 26 of them headed to their final resting place in Roswell, New Mexico.

"Over time the airplane just became a little to uneconomical to operate fuel efficiency certainly the 737 and the Airbus aircraft that we have now are a lot more fuel efficient," said Craig Barton Vice President of Technical Services with American Airlines

Mechanics said these planes were very reliable, easy to repair and were built well.

"The rest of the air frame, I mean is tough. They've flown a lot of hours and its held up well corrosion wise structurally," said Linko.

American Airlines says from the middle 1980s up to a few months ago, most of the people on Tulsa's Maintenance base worked on some part of the MD-80.

"It's a little bit of a sad day for me because this aircraft has served this airline really well," said Linko.

While the fleet is flying into the past mechanics said they will always remember the iconic MD-80. 

 "I'll miss it, but you know it's done its job. It's done it's job," said Linko.

"I'll miss you. I'll miss it when you got on an MD-80 it was the smoothest riding great looking plane so yeah it will be missed," said Swanson.

The final two MD-80s will remain airworthy and here in Tulsa for little while. They will eventually be donated to maintenance aviation schools across the country.

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