Why's the MD-80 Still Flying?
The jet at the center of American Airlines' flight travails gulps gas and rumbles about in a far noisier fashion than newer models. It first took flight nearly 30 years ago and today is greeted by some passengers as a technology-deprived torture chamber. Yet despite its age and costs, the MD-80 remains a valued and dependable workhorse in airline fleets worldwide—which points to the many nuances in assessing flight safety at a time of heightened concern about aircraft maintenance.
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