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McDonnell Douglas MD-11
The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 was the first of a new generation of large long-haul widebody airliners emerging during the late 1980s. It was intended for routes and/or frequencies for which the Boeing 747 was too big. The MD-11 is essentially a rejuvenated DC-10 with a slightly longer fuselage, improved engines, winglets and a digital two-crew flightdeck.
At first the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 sold well to airlines wanting to replace the DC-10. Among them were British Caledonian, Finnair, KLM, Swissair, Thai Airways International, Alitalia and American Airlines. At the time of the first flight on January 10 1990 orders, options and commitments had reached an encouraging total of around 300. But several orders were cancelled and many options not taken up. The order from launch customer British Caledonian was cancelled after BCal was taken over by British Airways, and another British airline, Air Europe, which ordered 6 (+13 options), went bankrupt. Air Europe had specified the Rolls-Royce Trent, but because of the bankruptcy of the airline no MD-11s with Trent engines were built at all.
After the merger of Boeing and McDonnell Douglas in 1997 the intention was to continue the production of the MD-11 freighter version, but already in 1998 Boeing decided to stop building the airliner because of lack of demand. In early 2001 the last two new aircraft were delivered to Lufthansa. Production totalled 200 aircraft. The MD-11 is still popular as a freighter, however and many former passenger planes have been converted to cargo configuration.
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