Home Classic Airliners Europe’s Last Scheduled MD-80 Operator Retires Type

Europe’s Last Scheduled MD-80 Operator Retires Type

by Matt Falcus

The days of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series is numbered in Europe after the last airline flying the type on regular scheduled services retired their last aircraft earlier this month.

European Air Charter, based in Bulgaria, was regularly flying their MD-82 aircraft on services within Europe and the Middle East.

The aircraft had become popular among aviation enthusiasts keen to fly on the “Mad Dog” one last time since the world’s airlines largely retired the type over the past decade.

Now, time has been called with their final service operating on 1st October between Frankfurt and Sofia.

LZ-LDJ operated the final flight on 1 October. Photo (c) Gerard van der Schaaf

The final service was flown by LZ-LDJ – an MD-82 originally delivered to Alitalia in 1995, and later Bulgarian Air Charter until 2021. Other aircraft flown by European Air Charter include:

  • LZ-LDM
  • LZ-LDN
  • LZ-LDP
  • LZ-LDS
  • LZ-LDT
  • LZ-LDU

These are all currently stored, pending sale, disposal or scrapping. It is understood that LZ-LDJ is destined to be scrapped.

LZ-LDW was previously scrapped in late 2022.

European Air Charter’s fleet going forward will consist of more modern and fuel efficient Airbus A320 family aircraft.



Other MD-80 Operators

The only other operator of the MD-80 series in Europe is ALK Airlines, also of Bulgaria.

This carrier commonly flies its aircraft on lease to other airlines, and on charter services. So it is still possible to see (and even fly on) one of these now classic jets in Europe, but much more difficult to organise.


Did you ever fly on an MD-80? Did you fly one with European Air Charter? Leave a comment below!


Main photo (c) European Air Charter


Last Chance to Fly

Our downloadable guide Last Chance to Fly lists all known operators of rare and historic airliner types, like the MD-80 series. It’s a great way to plan your flights on these older aircraft before it’s too late. The guide is updated regularly.

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Barry Raymond Walter October 27, 2023 - 9:46 am

I have flown on a total of 5 MD-80s. American Airlines ORD-TUS-ORD AOM France LHR-ORY-LHR, and Aeromexico PVR-MEX. Nice aeroplane.

Steve Tilbury November 1, 2023 - 6:51 pm

Yes I flew on an MD80, American Airlines from DFW to Tulsa. I really liked the aircraft, comfortable, quick and interesting to experience a rear engined aircraft. Sad to see it disappear from European skies.

Wade Andersen November 2, 2023 - 4:07 pm

Flew American Airlines MD-80 from Des Moines to DFW several times and sometimes AA from DFW to Austin. I liked it. I thought it was a comfortable and also comparatively quiet aircraft when compared to aircraft with wing mounted engines.


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