After retiring the last of its McDonnell Douglas MD-80 fleet to Roswell, New Mexico, in early September 2019, American Airlines is donating the last two MD-80 aircraft to CareerTech in Oklahoma City, and Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois. The airline ferried the first of the donated planes to Will Rogers World Airport (OKC) December 19, 2019. The other aircraft was ferried to Lewis University Airport (LOT) December 20, 2019. These will be the final two flights for American’s Super 80 fleet. Special dedication ceremonies at both schools will be held in early 2020.

The donations to the two schools provides aviation maintenance students the opportunity to gain practical experience by working on a commercial aircraft.

“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,” said Kevin Brickner, Senior Vice President of Technical Operations for American. “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. We are proud to partner with CareerTech and Lewis University on this donation.”


With the MD-80 donation, CareerTech can expand aviation workforce preparation from a statewide level to the entire CareerTech system. The aircraft will be used to train students in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations, and the corresponding curriculum and training materials will be utilized at all CareerTech technology centers that provide aerospace training.

“The American Airlines donation of a MD-80 aircraft fills a great need for aerospace training in Oklahoma and is a positive step in preparing a highly qualified workforce,” said Dr. Marcie Mack, State Director of CareerTech. “This donation opens possibilities for Oklahoma CareerTech students and elevates the hands-on training experience in areas such as MRO and avionics.”

Lewis University Aviation and Transportation

The MD-80 donation helps Lewis University Aviation and Transportation develop a new generation of training as it provides an updated avionics package and broadens opportunities for students to earn more Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificates. All 700 current Aviation and Transportation students will use the MD-80 at some point in their studies, however, it will primarily be used by nearly 200 students in the Aviation Maintenance Management program.

“This generous donation from American Airlines will ensure that future Lewis graduates will enter the aviation industry with the best possible training and experience,” said Dr. David J. Livingston, President of Lewis University.

American’s MD-80 in 2020 and beyond

American retired its remaining fleet of 26 MD-80 aircraft September 4, 2019, to Roswell. The MD-80, also known as the Super 80, was the workhorse of the airline’s fleet throughout the 1980s and beyond.