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On this Day in 1990 - First Flight of the MD-11

The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 made its first flight on 10 January 1990. We used IBA Insight to reveal the status of the global MD-11 fleet today.

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The American tri-jet first took to the skies 32 years ago today. A development of the DC-10, the MD-11 program began in December 1986, with the first aircraft rolling off the line just under two years later in September 1989. The program launched with notable orders from Finnair (the launch customer) as well as Alitalia, and Scandinavian Airlines (among others).


The MD-11 family proved popular in both it's passenger and freighter variants, but has not been seen in scheduled passenger service since KLM operated it's last scheduled MD-11 passenger service from Montreal to Amsterdam on October 26th 2014. The venerable freighter variants of the aircraft are also becoming a rarer sight in our skies, with the last European-based aircraft being retired by Lufthansa in 2021. A total of 200 MD-11 aircraft were built throughout the duration of the program.


Finnair were the launch customer for the MD-11, delivered to the airline on December 7th 1990

How many MD-11's are in service today?

Fleet data from IBA Insight reveals there are a total of 103 active MD-11 aircraft today, and another 14 aircraft that are logged as parked or stored, These aircraft are concentrated with North American cargo carriers. FedEx operates 59 aircraft, UPS has 41, and Western Global has 17. No operators outside the United States operate the MD-11. The remaining MD-11 fleet are powered by CF6-80C2 or PW4000-94 engines, and the average age of the fleet is 28.9 years. 



Where can I spot an MD-11 today?

Flight data from IBA Insight reveals the top City Pairs operated by the MD-11 between October and December 2022. If you want to see an MD-11 in action, your best bet is to head to one of the following airports in the United States. 


  1. Memphis, Tennessee

  2. Los Angeles, California

  3. Louisville, Kentucky



IBA Insight flexibly illustrates multiple asset, fleet, and market positions, actual and potential, to inform client choices and identify acquisition opportunities. Immediate access to crucial aircraft, engine, lease rate and fleet data eases appreciation of historic and future aircraft concentrations and operator profiles.


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