The partnership with AIM guarantees top candidates a career with the airline.

McDonnell Douglas MD-80 of Dallas-based American Airlines landing at San Antonio International Airport.
Photo: Austin Deppe / Shutterstock

American Airlines’ McDonnell Douglas MD-80 last took to the skies in 2019. At the Aviation Technician Education Council annual conference in Chicago on March 27th, American Airlines gifted a Pratt & Whitney JT8D engine from an MD-80 to the Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM).

The donation to the AIM will enable students further hands-on training for their aviation maintenance technician (AMT) certification. The engine donation further confirms the ongoing collaboration with AIM to provide students with engagement with American Airlines’ staff in aviation maintenance and access to AA’s facilities. The partnership also gives AIM’s top candidates the best chance of career with American Airlines.

American Airlines and the Aviation Institute of Maintenance have fostered a partnership to provide aspiring aviation maintenance technicians with a direct career path to the airline, which houses over 12,000 aviation maintenance professionals. As reported by American Airlines, the Executive Vice President of AIM, Dr. Joel English, commented on the airline partnership:

“We are excited to enhance our partnership with American Airlines in 2023, and receiving this impressive aircraft engine will allow us to provide more resources and experience to our student body in Chicago.

“Hands-on training on a range of airframes and powerplants is essential for the AIM graduate to become prepared to join the workforce after graduation. American sees the value of investing in our diverse student population, and this donation will help us prepare our current students to become tomorrow’s American Airlines technicians.”

A promising future in aviation

Under the Aviation Institute of Maintenance’s 21-month-long program, over 4,000 students enroll yearly to obtain the credentials and skills to become aircraft mechanics. However, the course and tuition fees are never cheap, and students often struggle even with the available financial assistance schemes. American’s Vice President of Line Maintenance, Evie Garces, commented in the airline’s statement:

“American is honored to donate this important piece of aviation technology to students at AIM.

“As a former AMT, I know first-hand how important it is to have access to equipment like this as you’re learning new skills. The MD-80 powered American’s future when it took its first revenue flight in 1983, and this engine will help power students’ futures as they work toward their certifications and career aspirations for years to come.”

American Airlines MD-80 aircraft landing at O'Hare International Airport.

Photo:  Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock

Final flight with the MD-80

Having been the workhorse of the American Airlines fleet for 36 years, on September 4th, 2019, American Airlines bid farewell to the MD-80, a plane that revolutionized short-haul travel. American’s final MD-80 revenue flight, AA80, departed Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) at 09:00 for a two-and-a-half-hour flight to O’Hare International Airport (ORD).

American Airlines became the first major US carrier to order the MD-80, leasing 20 142-seat aircraft from McDonnell Douglas to replace its Boeing 737-100s. American Airlines committed to 67 firm orders plus 100 options in March 1984. By 2002, American Airlines had more than 360 MD-80s in its fleet, equating to 30% of all MD-80s ever built.

MD-80 American Airlines approaching DCA in Washington DC, USA, on May 12, 2010

Photo: Eliyahu Yosef Parypa / Shutterstock

Aerospace Maintenance Competition

American’s Chicago Technical Operations team has been mentoring five students in preparation for the Aerospace Maintenance Competition, hosted in Atlanta, this April 18th to 20th. The competition aims to encourage teams from schools, airlines, military, general aviation, maintenance, and repair to compete with each other in real-life maintenance scenarios.

  • American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner From Above

    American Airlines has not had the slam dunk it was hoping for as Bangalore’s first connection to the US in 2020. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

    American Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, New York JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

    Year Founded:


    Robert Isom

    United States


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