End of an Era: The Last European MD-82 Is Retired

End of an Era: The Last European MD-82 Is Retired

DALLAS — Bulgarian airline European Air Charter (H6) has bid farewell to its last McDonnell Douglas MD-82 (DC-9-82, or ‘Mad Dog’) aircraft. LZ-LDJ, a 28.9-year-old MD-82 (MSN 53230), rolled off the production line at Long Beach Airport (LGB) in 1994, boasting two Pratt & Whitney JT8D-217C engines.

Originally delivered to Alitalia (AZ) on February 28, 1995, this MD-82 served AZ until October 23, 2012. Subsequently, Bulgarian Air Charter (BUC) took the reins, operating the aircraft from June 13, 2013 until April 20, 2021.

LZ-LDJ European Air Charter McDonnell Douglas MD-82 (DC-9-82) BUD. Photo: Daniel Nagy, used with permission

The Last Mad Dog Flight over Europe


In a poignant moment for aviation enthusiasts, European Air Charter, which replaced Bulgarian Air Charter, acquired this historic aircraft on April 19, 2021. Its final flight took place on October 1, 2023, flying a route from Frankfurt (FRA) to Sofia (SOF) as H67216. This landing marked not only the end of LZ-LDJ’s flying days but also signaled the conclusion of this aircraft type’s service under European registration.

The retirement of the MD-M2 echoes a broader narrative in the aviation industry, reflecting the continuous evolution of technology and the introduction of advanced, fuel-efficient planes. As aviation enthusiasts reflect on the retirement of the last European McDonnell Douglas MD-82, they celebrate its enduring legacy while eagerly anticipating the next chapter in European aviation history.


Featured image: LZ-LDJ European Air Charter McDonnell Douglas MD-82 (DC-9-82) BUD. Photo: Daniel Nagy/used with permission

Published aviation photographer and travel lover from Hungary. Specialized in route network and sustainability. Furthermore, I am a website developer and UI/UX designer.

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