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China waves goodbye to veteran MD jet

(Xinhua)

09:06, November 18, 2011

SHENYANG, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- A MD-90 aircraft left the northeastern city of Shenyang for its American home on Thursday, ending the service of the last McDonnell-Douglas jet for Chinese airlines.

Chinese carriers will no longer operate MD-made jets due to growing market demands, said Lu Changchun, deputy general manager with the north China branch of China Southern Airlines, which has operated the MD-90 jet for over a decade.

MD-90 jets were involved in no accidents during the decade-long-service in China, so safety concerns did not lead to their retirement, Lu said, adding about 1,000 MD-90 jets are still flying around the world.

Lu, however, admitted that supply of aircraft materials was affected as the production line of MD jets shrank, after McDonnell-Douglas Cooperation was merged into Boeing in 1997.

MD jets were replaced mainly because Chinese airlines need new models to accommodate air travel demands fueled by the economic boom, Lu said.

The north China branch of China Southern Airlines also announced Thursday the retirement of five A300-600R planes, which are replaced by A320 family jets. China Southern Airlines began flying an Airbus A380 superjumbo in China in October.


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