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MD-80 McDonnell Douglas
(now Boeing)
Medium-Range Jetliner

The MD-80 was designed by McDonnell Douglas as an improved version of the popular Douglas DC-9 family. Based on the DC-9 Series 50, the MD-80 was initially known as the DC-9-55 and later as the DC-9 Super 80. It was not until 1983 that the design was christened the MD-80 to reflect the merger of Douglas into McDonnell Douglas.

In comparison with the DC-9-50, the MD-80 featured an increased wingpan, larger fuselage for up to 172 passengers, various aerodynamic improvements (including the "flat" fuselage tailcone), more fuel efficient engines, and a performance management system to optimize fuel efficiency and performance. No specific aircraft was actually known as the MD-80. Actually, this generic name was applied to five members of the design family: the MD-81, MD-82, MD-83, MD-87, and MD-88.

All together, 1,194 MD-80s were built by Douglas and under license by the Shanghai Aviation Industrial Corporation in China before production ended in 1999. Many MD-80 aircraft remain in service although numbers are due to be reduced rapidly as airlines take delivery of more fuel efficient Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 planes. The MD-80 was replaced by the updated MD-90.

Data below for MD-82 and MD-87
Last modified 11 April 2011

First Flight (MD-81) 19 October 1979
(MD-82) 8 January 1981
(MD-83) 17 December 1984
(MD-87) 4 December 1986
(MD-88) 15 August 1987
Service Entry

(MD-81) September 1980 (with Swissair)
(MD-82) August 1981 (with Republic Airlines)
(MD-83) February 1985 (with Alaska Airlines)
(MD-87) November 1987 (with Finnair and Swissair)
(MD-88) January 1988 (with Delta Air Lines)

CREW: two flight crew: pilot, co-pilot

PASSENGERS: (typical) 105-172
(MD-82) 155 in two classes


$41.5 to $48.5 million

Wing Root DSMA-433A/-434A
Wing Tip


Length (MD-82) 147.83 ft (45.06 m)
(MD-87) 130.42 ft (39.7 m)
Wingspan 107.83 ft (32.87 m)
Height (MD-82) 30.17 ft (9.19 m)
(MD-87) 30.50 ft (9.3 m)
Wing Area 1,270 ft² (118 m²)
Canard Area

not applicable

Empty (MD-82) 77,980 lb (35,370 kg)
(MD-87) 73,160 lb (33,185 kg)
Normal Takeoff unknown
Max Takeoff (MD-82) 149,500 lb (67,815 kg)
(MD-87) 140,000 lb (65,500 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: 5,840 gal (22,100 L)
external: not applicable
Max Payload

(MD-82) 43,450 lb (19,710 kg)
(MD-87) 38,845 lb (17,620 kg)

Powerplant two Pratt & Whitney JT8D-217/217A/217C/219 turbofans
Thrust (JT8D-217 series) 40,000 lb (177.94 kN)
(JT8D-219) 42,000 lb (186.83 kN)

Max Level Speed at altitude: 575 mph (925 km/h)
at sea level: unknown
cruise speed: 510 mph (815 km/h), Mach 0.80
Initial Climb Rate unknown
Service Ceiling 37,000 ft (11,290 m)
Range MD-82:
max fuel: 2,175 nm (4,030 km)
max payload: 2,055 nm (3,800 km)
max fuel: 2,390 nm (4,420 km)
max payload: 2,375 nm (4,395 km)
g-Limits unknown

MD-81 or
DC-9 Super 81
Basic production model carrying 125 to 146 passengers with JT8D-209 engines
MD-82 or
DC-9 Super 82
Model with increased power engines for better performance, carries 137-155 passengers, also built in China
MD-83 Extended-range version with extra fuel tanks, more poweful engines, and strengthened landing gear, also built in China
MD-87 Extended-range model with shortened fuselage carrying 105 to 130 passengers
MD-88 Similar to MD-82 but with advanced EFIS cockpit displays and windshear warning system
MD-89 Proposed stretched model carrying 173 passengers and with a range of 2,605 nm (4,830 km), cancelled
MD-UDF Demo Test aircraft based on the MD-80 but fitted with an experimental General Electric UnDucted Fan propfan engine in place of the port turbofan
MD-UHB Demo Test aircraft based on the MD-80 but fitted with an experimental Allison Ultra High Bypass propfan engine in place of the port turbofan

Aero Lloyd
Aerolineas Argentinas
Air Aruba
Air Jamaica
Air Liberté
Air Philippines
Air Uganda
Alaska Airlines
Allegiant Air
AMC Airlines
American Airlines
AOM French Airlines
Austrian Airlines
Avianca Colombia
BelAir Ile de France
Best Air
BWIA International
China Eastern Airlines
China Northern Airlines
Continental Airlines
Dana Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Dinar Lineas Aereas
Express One International
Far Eastern Air Transport
Global Aicraft Solutions
GMG Airlines
Golden Nugget Aviation
Harlequin Air
Inex Adria
Japan Air Systems
KEB Aircraft
Korean Airlines
Lineas Aereas Canarias (LAC)
MD Airlines
Miami Air International
Midwest Airlines
Midwest Express
Northwest Airlines
Nouvelair Tunisie
One-Two-Go Airlines
Onur Air
Pacific Airlines
Republic Airlines
Sam Colombia
SAS Scandinavian Airlines
Southern Airways
Spirit Airlines
Spirit of Manila Airlines
Trans World Airlines (TWA)
U Land Airlines
US Airways
Venus Airways
West Caribbean Airways
World Focus Airlines



  • Aboulafia, Richard. Jane's Civil Aircraft. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1996, p. 82-83, McDonnell Douglas MD-80.
  • Boeing MD-80 site
  • Chant, Christopher and Taylor, Michael J.H. The World's Greatest Aircraft. Edison, NJ: Chartwell Books, 2006, p. 228, Douglas DC-9 and McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) MD-80/90 Series.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 615-616, McDonnell Douglas MD-80.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Encyclopedia of Civil Aircraft. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 1999, p. 628-634, MD-80 and MD-90 Family.
  • Taylor, Michael. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1996/1997. London: Brassey's, 1996, p. 279-280, McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series.
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999/2000. London: Brassey's, 1999, p. 260-261, Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) MD-80 series.

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