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MD11 Operators - The ones that never were!

page updated 01/08/2011

This page is about MD11 operators that never came to fruition for whatever reasons and there are quiet a few too. Many airlines had ordered the MD11 and if it weren't for the problems with the aircraft in the early years i think we would of seen a lot more than 200 MD11's built.

German charter airline AeroLloyd ordered 2 firm + 2 options on the MD11 on 07/02/89 through leasing company ADO of Switzerland. The aircraft were for expansion of services to the far East and USA. Con No.s 48492 and 48493 were allocated but the order was cancelled when the airline abandoned its plans for long haul flights.

Artists impression photo of an Aero Lloyd MD11 in flight.

British charter ailine Air Europe flew short haul charter services to Europe before expanding into the long haul market in 1988. It ordered 2 GE powered MD11's to be leased from Mutsui of Japan in November 1988 for delivery May 1990. Con nos. 48411 and 48412 were allocated and registrations G-MDII and G-OLAN were reserved. In February 1989 6 firm + 12 options were also ordered. These were to be the first Rolls Royce RB211 powered MD11's. Con nos. 48506-48511 were allocated. Unfortunately, Air Europe abruptly ceased operations in March 1991 after its parent company International Leisure Group collapsed. The order was cancelled except for the 2 leased aircraft which Delta then took to start MD11 operations early.

Artists impression photo of an Air Europe MD11 with Rolls Royce engines. If Only....................

Air Outre Mer (AOM) ordered 4 MD11's to be leased through GPA for delivery 1994-1995. These were to replace its DC10's used on its service to the French colonies. Con nos. 48534-48537 were allocated.
Minerve ordered 2 MD11's in September 1989 and another 1 firm + 1 option in June 1989. These aircraft were to replace the carriers older DC8's and DC10's. Con nos. 48482, 48526 & 48625 were assingned along with registrations FGKMP/Q/R.
In 1992 AOM took over Minerve, a French charter airlines that also ordered MD11's. The new airline was called AOM French Airlines and had a total of 7 MD11's on order. Sadly, the order was cancelled (though i am not sure why) and none of the 7 MD11's were ever built.

Air Zaire orderd 2 MD11's to replace it DC10's on long services from Kinshsa to Europe for delivery in September 92 and November 1993. Con nos. 48529 and 48530 were allocated. Due to the poor financial state of the airline, the MD11 order was cancelled and the aircraft never built. Air Zaire went bankrupt in 1995. The picture shows an MD11 in Air Zaire colours, produced through retouched pictures, courtesy of

British Caledonian (BCAL) ordered 3 MD11's on 03/12/86 and were one of the launch customers. BCAL were expanding from its Gatwick base and the MD11 suited its plans as it was already a DC10 operator. Unfortunately financial problems in 1988 led the airline to be taken over by rival British Airways. BA kept BCAL's A320's that were on order and DC10's but did not take up the MD11 order. Con nos. 48419-48420 were assigned to BCAL and built. They were taken up by American Airlines instead.

A British Caledonian MD11 promotional sticker shows what might of been!

Catran was formed by a group of former Swissair staff in 2002. They acquired a former Swissair MD11 that had been leased to Varig and the aircraft returned to Zurich and was rolled out in its new colours in December 2004. It retained its blue belly from its days with Varig, white fuse and a yelow tail with Sher Flowers on it with Flowerwings on the tail engine. Initial services were expected to be transporting flowers from Amsterdam to mainly African destinations. However the aircraft never flew in its new guise except on a test flight for new owners Transmile.Whilst in Switzerland the aircraft carried the reg N627FE.

N627FE cn 48446 (HB-IWD,PP-VTJ). To 9M-TGQ Transmile.

Pictured below is N627FE wearing Catran clrs at Zurich in December 2004. Sadly this airline never got off the ground and the aircraft was taken up by Transmile Air Services. (Photo courtesy of Christian Waser)

China Southern signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) to purchase 6 MD11's on 03/07/1988. Con nos. 48462-48467 were assigned but the order was never confirmed and the aircraft not built. Pity really, the MD11 would of looked nice in that livery too as you can see below from retouched picture courtesy of

Long time DC10 operator JAT decided to order MD11's as their replacement. An order for 3 MD11's + 3 options was placed in February 1987. 1 of the options was coverted to a firm order in 1990. Con nos. 48607-48609 were allocated for the initial 3 orders and registrations YU-AME/F/G were allocated. The civil war in (the former) Yugoslavia and later sanctions led to all international flights suspened between 1992 and 1994 and the cancellation of the MD11 order.

Nigeria Airways ordered 1 MD11 for delivery in 1991.
Financial difficulties forced to airline to reduce costs and this led to the cancelling of its MD11 order.

Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) were among the launch customers who signed up to order 92 MD11's between them in December 1986. 12 options were placed for MD11's but the order was never confirmed and no MD11's were ever built for SAS.

Singapore Airlines placed an order for the MD11 comprising of 5 firm + 15 options on 16/01/1990. The airline had hoped to use the MD11 on routes such as Singapore to Paris where a B747 was too large. However, after the problems with the aircrafts range and fuel burn came to light, the MD11 order was cancelled and an order for Airbus A340's was placed instead. A retouched picture courtesy of shows an MD11 in Singapore Airlines stunning livery . All aircraft look good in SQ's colours but the best looking airliner around would have really looked the business, oh well!

Argentine carrier Southern Winds started international flights in 2001 initially with B767's. They intended to acquire 3 former Swiss MD11's in the Summer of 2004 for expansion but the deal never materialised after the airline got into difficulties. They acquired 2 B747's in early 2005 but ceased operations later the same year. Intended MD11's were HB-IWA,IWI and IWQ.

Another long time DC10 operator, Viasa ordered 2 firm + 1 option MD11's on 21/12/98. Con nos. 48524/525 were allocated but the order was cancelled and the aircraft not built. Another retouched picture courtesy of Jetsite showing a Viasa liveried MD11, looks nice too, shame it never happened!

Zambia Airways ordered 1 MD11 on 09/06/89. Con no. 48531 was allocated but due to financial diffulties, the order was cancelled.

ZAS Airline of Egypt ordered 1 firm and 1 option MD11 Combi to be leased through ADO finance of Switzerland for delivery in November 1991. Con no. 48494 was allocated. Both the firm order and option were cancelled and not built. ZAS along with Alitalia were the only Airlines to order the Combi variant with only Alitalia actually recieving them.

An artists impresion picture of the MD11 in ZAS Colours.

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