Are Any DC-10s Still In Service?

Designed and built in Long Beach, California, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 went into production in January 1968 and…

Are Any DC-10s Still In Service?

Designed and built in Long Beach, California, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 went into production in January 1968 and was first put into service in 1971. The aircraft, capable of carrying 250 to 380 passengers, is said to have paved the way for mass long-haul air travel. But are there any still in service these days? Let’s find out.

For Finland’s Finnair, the last DC-10 exited the fleet in 1996. During its 21 years with the airline, the type transported around eight million passengers. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, our research leads us to believe that the last commercial passenger flight for the DC-10 took place in February 2014. CNN reports that Biman Bangladesh Airlines took the honor of operating the final service, carrying passengers from Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka to Birmingham, England.

In a statement published by CNN, the airline called the final flight “a fitting end for an aircraft that has served Biman loyally and well over many years,”

But while the DC-10 is done with commercial passenger service, it does still occupy the skies in 2020 in other roles and capacities.

Cargo operations

With fuel efficiency and maintenance costs being less of a priority for cargo airlines, the DC-10 remains in service as a freighter for global shipping and delivery company Federal Express (FedEx).

According to, there are 25 of the type still in active service. While some were purpose-built freighters, a number of these jets were converted from passenger aircraft. Converted aircraft are listed as having flown for airlines such as United Airlines, American Airlines, and even closed-airline, British Caledonian.

While several cargo airlines flew the DC-10 for some time, FedEx remains the only remaining commercial-cargo operator of the type. In total, an impressive 104 DC-10s have flown with FedEx. The majority have since been retired and scrapped.

FedEx Douglas DC-10
FedEx still operates about 25 DC-10 aircraft. Photo: Dylan Ashe via Wikimedia Commons

Military operations

The United States Air Force appears to be the single largest operator of the DC-10. These aircraft are technically designated KC-10s and are used as tankers, carrying fuel for Air Force operations.

According to Boeing, the US Air Force placed a $216 million contract to upgrade the service’s 59-jet KC-10 tanker fleet with a new communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management (CNS/ATM) system. All 59 aircraft are still listed as active, with the oldest models being produced in 1981 and the newest rolling out of the factory 1988.

As these particular aircraft were purpose-built for the Air Force, none of the 59 were ever converted from passenger variants or flew with any other airlines.

KC-10 / DC-10
The US Air Force’s DC-10 variant, the KC-10, is capable of air-to-air refueling. Photo: Staff Sgt. Jerry Morrison via Wikimedia Commons

The extra-special DC-10

There is a single DC-10 still flying today that has a special purpose unlike any other aircraft. The jet, registered as N330AU, operates as a ‘Flying Eye Hospital for a non-profit organization by the name of Orbis.

“As the world’s only Flying Eye Hospital, it’s unlike any plane you’ve ever seen before. A state-of-the-art teaching facility complete with operating room, classroom, and recovery room – this amazing aircraft has been an example of the alliance between medicine and aviation since 1982.”


The DC-10 was the first commercial wide-body airplane from McDonnell Douglas. Interestingly, the type was designed at the request of American Airlines, of which 66 flew with the carrier.

All in all, 446 DC-10s were built, with the last one completed in 1988. The iconic tri-jet is credited as one of the aircraft types that have shaped modern air travel.

Have you ever flown on a DC-10? Share your experience with us in the comments!

Source : Simple Flying More   

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LATAM Won’t Sell A350s To Delta Following $62M Settlement

In the wake of LATAM’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, its joint venture partner Delta Air Lines has…

LATAM Won’t Sell A350s To Delta Following $62M Settlement

In the wake of LATAM’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, its joint venture partner Delta Air Lines has pulled out of a deal to purchase four A350s from the Latin American airline. The penalty for this was a huge $62m but is likely to avoid costs for Delta in reconfiguring the planes.

Delta will no longer be purchasing LATAM’s A350s. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Delta will not buy LATAM’s A350s

Delta’s purchase of a 20% stake in LATAM was one of the biggest stories of 2019, if only for shock value alone. As part of the deal, LATAM would abandon its ties with oneworld and its pursuit of a joint venture with American Airlines and make a brisk move across to the Delta family.

Also within the deal was an agreement that Delta would buy four A350s from LATAM, all of which with airline already had in operation. It would also take over LATAM’s commitment for 10 further A350s, which were set to be delivered over the coming five years.

Delta is already a big fan of the A350. Photo: Airbus.

However, since the abrupt announcement of LATAM’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, it seems the deal with Delta is off. In the bankruptcy documents, squirreled away in a footnote, were the details of the change. It said,

“By agreement dated as of May 25, 2020, LATAM and Delta terminated the aircraft sale and purchase agreement (the “Aircraft Purchase Agreement”), dated as of November 6, 2019, pursuant to which Delta had committed to purchase four A350 airplanes from LATAM.”

Although ceasing the purchase agreement must have made business sense in some ways, Delta doesn’t get to walk away from the deal unscathed.

Delta shells out $62m for nothing

In addition to the documents revealing the end of the A350 purchase agreement, it also detailed the penalty to be paid by Delta. It said,

“In exchange for termination of the Aircraft Purchase Agreement, Delta agreed to pay LATAM $62,000,000.”

That’s effectively a payment of $62m for absolutely nothing. While it’s a far cry from the purchase price of the four A350s, at least then Delta would have had something to show for its investment. Clearly, Delta is keen to avoid taking more aircraft during this uncertain time, even if it means paying out dearly to do so.

LATAM bankrupt
Pulling out of the deal cost Delta $62m. Photo: Getty Images

Nevertheless, Delta remains committed to taking over the 10 aircraft order from Airbus, which will be delivered between now and 2025. It’s likely Delta will be pursuing some sort of deferral deal with Airbus for these planes, as nobody’s keen to take on more capacity right now.

Delta not pulling out of joint venture

Under the terms of the newly formed joint venture between Delta and LATAM, Delta has the right to withdraw from the partnership in the event that LATAM enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy. However, Delta has affirmed its commitment to the Latin American airline, with CEO Ed Bastian saying in a memo seen by The Points Guy yesterday,

“We have the utmost confidence in the LATAM team, and remain firmly committed to our partnership, which will be important when we rebuild our international network in the recovery.”

Delta Air Lines grounded planes
Delta remains committed to the partnership, despite its own current challenges. Photo: Getty Images

With Delta experiencing its own challenges right now, it’s comforting to know that it still sees a strong opportunity in Latin America.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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