After more two decades of false starts, an MD80 passenger aircraft has been converted to a freighter by conversion specialist Aeronautical Engineers Inc (AEI). The late 1980s saw some interest in the conversion of the MD80 but at that time the B727 was still viewed as the best narrowbody freighter. The narrow interior also then, as now, precludes the use of standard containers. This also reduced interest in such a conversion although China had examined a pure freighter design, the Y13, as part of its assembly of MD80s in the country. The MD80 has previously been used as a freighter for small packages by using special containers that can fit through the existing passenger door. Despite a greater feedstock price, the competing B737-400SF entered service a number of years ago and has proved popular offering operators relative youth, better engines and greater interior flexibility.
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