On May 4, 1983, American Airlines took delivery of the first of 20 MD-80s from McDonnell Douglas. American Airlines was obviously pleased with the type as it would go on to order an additional 240 MD-80s between 1983 and 1990. Thirty years later, the type still has a large presence in American Airlines' fleet.
However, the MD-80's days with American Airlines are numbered. After rising to a peak of 364 active MD-80s in late 2001, the number of active MD-80s in American's fleet is now down to 186. The type is slowly being removed from service with new 737-800s and upcoming A320 family aircraft replacing them. Some MD-80s withdrawn from the American Airlines' fleet have found work with other airlines while others sit in the desert in Roswell, NM, unlikely to ever fly again.
On a related note, it is understood that American Airlines' first A319 has already been assigned a serial number and is expected to be delivered on lease in July 2013.
Photo credit: Nigel Howarth