BA787
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When Does An Airliner Reach The End Of Its Life?

Mon Jun 05, 2006 1:51 am

What would you reccomend is the correct age for an aircraft to stop passenger services with a major airline?
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: When Does An Airliner Reach The End Of Its Life?

Mon Jun 05, 2006 2:19 am

When it gets Economically Expensive to Maintain.
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vv701
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RE: When Does An Airliner Reach The End Of Its Life?

Mon Jun 05, 2006 2:44 am

Long haul aircraft have fewer rotations per day and spend a larger proportion of their flying life at higher altitudes. Both of these factors tend to potentially make them longer lived (in years) than short haul aircraft.

Here are some examples, all based on aircraft bought by BA from Boeing:

732: Number of aircraft (for which full data is available) 21. Average life (from date of first flight to date of last BA revenue flight) 6,433 days (17 years 7 months). Average number of flight hours 35,592. Average number of rotations 27,759.

741: Number of aircraft 14. Average life 9,708 days (26 years 7 months). Average number of flight hours 103,391. Average number of rotations 20,810.

742: Number of aircraft 16. Average life 7,328 days (20 years 1 month). Average number of flight hours 82,869. Average number of rotations 13,139.

752: Number of aircraft 37. Average life 5,665 days (15 years 6 months). Average number of flight hours 30,639. Average number of rotations 23,993.

I have not included types bought by BA and still in service in the above. So, for example, BA still operates many 734s but has already 'retired' 12 aircraft of this type.

Note also that the 732 figures may be greater than they would have been if BA had not transferred many of them from their Main Fleet (Heathrow) and EuroGatwick fleets to BA Regional based at BHX and MAN.
 
saturn5
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RE: When Does An Airliner Reach The End Of Its Life?

Mon Jun 05, 2006 2:50 am

Quoting BA787 (Thread starter):
services with a major airline

Major airlines usually want to keep certain average fleet age - for example not more 12 years. If I recall NWA among large airlines have the highest average fleet age - 18 years. Then they sell aircraft to "minor" airlines. Airlines get rid off really old airplanes for prestige and/or economic reasons. The same exact reasons you get rid off of a really old car.

[Edited 2006-06-04 19:50:36]
 
BA787
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RE: When Does An Airliner Reach The End Of Its Life?

Mon Jun 05, 2006 2:50 am

That is just what i was looking for cheers Tom
 
supa7E7
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RE: When Does An Airliner Reach The End Of Its Life?

Mon Jun 05, 2006 3:17 am

Quoting Saturn5 (Reply 3):
Major airlines usually want to keep certain average fleet age - for example not more 12 years.

I really don't think anybody except SQ cares about this.

Whatever makes the most money. For top tier carriers (SQ, EK), they make money by having the newest cabins. That makes 8 year lifespans practical in some cases.

Fleet service time relates to
- oil prices
- price of new aircraft
- efficiency of new aircraft
- revenue potential of new aircraft
- old aircraft maintenance / unexpected problems

If new aircraft don't make sense, you keep your old one. Sometimes it takes 30+ years (BA and NW 747s). Sometimes less than 10 (Fokker 100 at AA and US).

You can make a plan for a 10 year period. Either you project old planes will make more money, or new planes. The age of the planes really doesn't matter much. Maintenance is so good at serious airlines that any aircraft flying - operationally - is like a car in mint condition. The question is not will the aircraft randomly fail (they don't), but whether keeping an old bird is the better option. Fuel prices are perhaps the biggest variable in that 10 year projection. Cheap fuel, old planes are better. Expensive fuel, perhaps a new fleet would have been better.
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vv701
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RE: When Does An Airliner Reach The End Of Its Life?

Mon Jun 05, 2006 3:23 am

Quoting Saturn5 (Reply 3):
Airlines get rid off really old airplanes for prestige and/or economic reasons.

I would think that 'economic' far outweighs 'prestige'. After all how many passengers have any idea at all of how old the aircraft they have flown in is? It could be new but with a shabbily maintained cabin or old with a pristine, refurbished cabin.

In economic terms the considerations are maintenance costs and fuel consumption to be compared with the amortized value of the aircraft. An old aircraft with high maintenance costs and higher fuel consumption can be more economical to operate than a new aircraft with low maintenance costs and lower fuel consumption because of the high capital cost of operating such an aircraft. On the other hand if you can sell some virtually new aircraft at a profit (as I believe FR did recently) then you will please your shareholders.
 
JayinKitsap
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RE: When Does An Airliner Reach The End Of Its Life?

Mon Jun 05, 2006 4:01 am

Isn't there the mandatory major maintenance checks (D-check?) at certain hour/rotation marks. As I recall, there is also an absolute 75,000 rotation mark on the 737 and a similar limit on each model.

I think these play a major factor in the decision to sell, convert to freighter, or retire.
 
jetblueatjfk
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RE: When Does An Airliner Reach The End Of Its Life?

Mon Jun 05, 2006 7:21 am

Quoting Saturn5 (Reply 3):
for example not more 12 years.

No one really believes in that at all. There is a lot of DL planes that are from the early 80's!

B6jfk airplane 
 
saturn5
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RE: When Does An Airliner Reach The End Of Its Life?

Mon Jun 05, 2006 9:38 am

Quoting JetBlueAtJFK (Reply 8):
No one really believes in that at all

I suggest you learn to read. This was just an example. Also I hope you understand what "average" means.

[Edited 2006-06-05 02:39:26]
 
wjcandee
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RE: When Does An Airliner Reach The End Of Its Life?

Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:07 pm

Quoting BA787 (Thread starter):
What would you reccomend is the correct age for an aircraft to stop passenger services with a major airline?

Okay, let's cut through the misinformation. The answer is: When it is more expensive to keep than to withdraw from service. That depends upon a huge number of factors, age in years being an almost-insignificant one.

"Expense" is composed of a significant number of factors. Those include: expense of operation (as compared to other aircraft, including fuel consumption, crew cost, etc.), capital expense (including capitalized heavy maintenance, and the net cost of the new aircraft based upon what you can get for the old ones [which was one reason that AA got rid of the newer, better 717s which had a decent resale value, instead of the crap F100s, which didn't]), expense of unreliability (higher dispatch reliability costs less money in a whole lot of ways), expense of lesser avionics (i.e. expense of having to divert because older avionics don't permit landing where a newer a/c could), expense to insure/safety expense (perceived increased safety of updated cockpit design and systems), expense of operating multiple fleet types (including maintaining training and type ratings of crews for the extra fleet type -- as balanced against the fact that certain dissimilar aircraft may be economically more optimal given the traffic and stage lengths on particular routes), and many, many more (like something as basic as what the heck the pilot's union is going to want to be paid to fly this new beast -- which is why DL has next-to-no 777s). Fleet planning and fleet rationalization are complex problems based on some things that are readily quantifiable and some things that are more of an art to quantify. And it is true that some airlines have traditions that cause them to dispose of relatively-new aircraft. However, for anyone who really is trying to make money in a truly-competitive marketplace, arbitrarily retiring aircraft when they reach a certain age isn't necessarily the brightest idea.

[Edited 2006-06-05 05:08:46]

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