AEI starts first MD-82 conversion

AERONAUTICAL Engineers (AEI) has started work on converting its first MD-82 passenger-to-freighter conversion. The company bought the aircraft from GA Telesis; it had served with American Airlines since new.

Robert Convey, vice-president of sales and marketing said: “[This] is positioned to become the largest passenger-to-freighter conversion programme ever. Given that the MD-80 can transport an equal amount of payload the same distance as a 737-400SF, but for one third the acquisition price, guarantees that this aircraft will dominate the narrowbody landscape.”

“AEI has been studying the MD-80SF passenger-to-freighter conversion for over 10 years and made the decision to launch the programme based on the low asset value,” Convey said. “Historically narrowbody passenger aircraft have only been converted in large numbers when they reached the zone of conversion, which is around 15 years of age and at or close to scrap value. The MD-80 now meets both these criteria and will be converted in large numbers in years to come.”

American Airlines has consistently run into problems with maintenance of its MD-80 fleet, which is why it is now ridding itself of them as soon as possible. In September 2009, American was accused of hiding repeated maintenance lapses on at least 16 of its MD-80s from the FAA, including failure to repair cracks to pressure bulkheads.

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