Fbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3688 posts, RR: 31 Posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2689 times:
A pretty simple question really but how come commerical airlines of this world get rid of older aircraft DC-8, 727, 747-100 etc. as they are financially unviable, yet a cargo airline is able to operate using them quite happily? What is different about the cargo business that makes older aircraft more suitable? Do they have more downtime between flights to complete maintenance?
Before someone responds saying it is due to passengers not feeling 'safe' or anything to do with passengers how come NW are still keeping the DC-9 around, for example?
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Joost From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 3131 posts, RR: 4 Reply 1, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2659 times:
Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter): A pretty simple question really but how come commerical airlines of this world get rid of older aircraft DC-8, 727, 747-100 etc. as they are financially unviable, yet a cargo airline is able to operate using them quite happily? What is different about the cargo business that makes older aircraft more suitable? Do they have more downtime between flights to complete maintenance?
The total operating costs of an airplane are composed out of several factors, most notably:
- ownership costs (lease, mortage)
- maintenance costs
- fuel costs
* Ownership costs are fixed, no matter if you use the aircraft or not.
* Maintenance costs and fuel costs are variable, they increase when you use the aircraft more
Some of the cargo operators use the aircraft less hours (on a daily basis) than most of the passenger airlines. Therefore, they prefer LOW ownership costs, in exchange for higher variable costs. It's a simple balance.
If you use the aircraft a lot (pax airlines), you can better have lower fuel burn and maintenance costs as the savings there, compensate for the higher lease / mortage rates.
Most integrators have low utilizations, as the aircraft feed the trucks and vice versa, usually just one "wave" a day. Some other cargo airlines fly a low (like KL/AF Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo) and they usually have newer planes. KL Cargo, for example, has 3 744Fs, one of them brand new. AF Cargo will receive 777F aircraft, brand new.
Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter): Before someone responds saying it is due to passengers not feeling 'safe' or anything to do with passengers how come NW are still keeping the DC-9 around, for example?
By maintaining the aircraft good, safety should not be a problem.
NW has very low ownership costs on the DC-9s, although they will need a replacement some day. In the last years, while in bankruptcy, they had a relative bad credit rating and therefore, lease or mortage costs for new aircraft would have been very expensive, favouring the DC-9s. Airlines with a good credit rating (like AF, or also FR and U2) can get money cheap (good interest rates) and can easier buy new aircraft.
N27UADIESEL8 From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 59 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2654 times:
Cargo carriers are able to use them since they do not fly them for more than 1 or 2 flights a day, also they do require more maintenance as they are older airframes. It also depends for which carrier are they flying.
Where i work now our B727's only fly about 2 flights a day and in every station if there is a maintenance issue is taken care of during downtime.
2175301 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 988 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2621 times:
Another factor is the money that can be charged for cargo.
While cargo companies are competitive - and large customers do have choices - there is not the incessant drive to bottom of the barrel scraping prices that many passenger airlines engage in to gain business. Thus, both more money can be spent on fuel and maintenance without affecting overall profit than for many passenger airlines. In fact, a number of passenger airlines depend on their cargo operations for a good chunk of the overall company profit.
Jhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6195 posts, RR: 13 Reply 6, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2115 times:
A few of the "classics" are approaching aging aircraft limits where they'll be subject to a much more rigorous maintenance program. It's at this point that alot of the airplanes are gotten rid of by the cargo companies.
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Acidradio From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1855 posts, RR: 10 Reply 7, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2105 times:
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One of the reasons airlines continually upgrade airplanes is in order to provide comfort and amenities to passengers. Interiors get retrofitted on a regular basis and systems like video-on-demand are installed. Packages and letters though don't demand such amenities. They don't mind how they got across the ocean, whether it's in a ratty old 747-100 or a brand new 767.
KensukeAida From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 217 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2038 times:
Well, first of all, most of the worst offenders in terms of inefficiency are re-engined. This includes FX's 727s and 5X's DC-8s.
The DC-8-60F is an excellent cargo carrier when re-engined thanks to its long fuselage which can equip 18 18x125 containers. That's is more than a 757, and they're easier to get a hold of because pax carriers still see a lot of worth in the 757.
I also think a lot of the "classic" jetliners were ridiculously overbuilt (ie "they don't make 'em like they used to"). The DC-8 was designed for something on the order of 100,000 cycles, and I believe the 727 was no slouch here either.
Wjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 4594 posts, RR: 18 Reply 10, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1658 times:
The other thing to remember is that dispatch reliability of older aircraft is inadequate when used in high-cycle service, but sufficient in low-cycle service.
The typical utilization of airline aircraft in service involving Self-Loading Cargo is much higher than with actual boxes, which, as noted above, are typically serviced in one or two waves a day, often in stages of an hour or two. The cargo operators that operate longer stages and higher utilization would find it better to use more fuel efficient, 2-person cockpit, lower maintenance per hour, aircraft.