Air Transport World

New lease on life. (Alitalia airline's engineering subsidiary Atitech upgrading MD-80 aircraft)(Company Profile)

Naples--The saying goes: "See Naples and die." But for the McDonnelI Douglas MD-80, the proverb is being stood on its head, to read: "See Naples--and live." For Atitech, Alitalia's wholly owned narrowbody engineering subsidiary, based at Capodichino Airport here, is taking its parent's 90-strong fleet of MD-80s, some of which are pushing 15 years old, and giving them a new lease on life that will see them flying well into the 21st century.

The job is high-tech and complicated, entailing removal of all of the 1970s-vintage electromagnetic instruments and substitution of state-of-the-art glass cockpits complete with dual EFIS, solid-state engine and systems display, dual flight-management system, dual multifunction control display units, dual scanning DME, dual global navigation sensor systems and a Sextant Avionique HUD.

This extensive upgrade is designed to meet future P-NAV Eurocontrol navigation requirements, as well as Cat. IIIb landing requirements with a decision height of 20 ft. Provision for a future satcom/telesystem installation is being built in.

At this writing, six Alitalia MD-80s had been completed, the first three in a joint operation between McDonnell Douglas and Atitech technicians at the Douglas Aircraft facility in Long Beach, Calif. …

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