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MBSDALHOU
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Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:51 pm

I was just reading the UAL A320 thread and it made me wonder. Why did NWA retire / scrap a handful of A320's after only 11-12 years and now Delta retired an A320 after 27 years?! Were the older models just not as sturdy? Just baffling to me! Thanks for the replies in advance!
 
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ikolkyo
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Re: Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:03 pm

Funny you make this thread I was also surprised that some former Silkair A319s were scrapped early.
https://www.planespotters.net/productio ... s=historic

12 year old A320 as well
https://www.planespotters.net/airframe/ ... LF-SilkAir
 
jetmatt777
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Re: Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:29 pm

Some aircraft specific reasons why an aircraft may be more attractive to part out rather than sell:

Early build model being heavier and less efficient than its younger counterparts rolling out of the factory.

Odd repairs or incidents that have added significant weight or balance issues which gives a higher fuel burn from less efficient flying.
Airplane in question having an abnormally high rate of issues and repairs. Lemons do happen even with airplanes.

Non-aircraft specific:
Parts market being stronger than aircraft resale value.
Changes in management strategies.
Financial stability of the company.
 
Austin787
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Re: Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:40 pm

 
Newbiepilot
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Re: Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:41 pm

I believe only 1 of the first 50 A320s is still in revenue service worldwide.

The first A320s had significant teething issues including some affecting the structure of the airplane. The original A320s were only designed for 60,000 hours and 48,000 cycles. For comparison the 737 was designed for 75,000 cycles. I have heard that the structural repair costs get outrageously expensive for the early A320s. Airbus addressed many of the initial design problems. UA didn't get any of the early bird A320s.

Airbus did extend the cycles and hour limits beyond the initial 48/60 threshold since the oldest planes passed those thresholds around 2008. Doing so on the early production airplanes comes at a high maintenance cost.
 
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OA940
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Re: Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:17 pm

Most airlines retire their planes nowadays after 10-15 years. Probs because every airline appears to be losing money (calm down it's a joke). Delta is notorious for buying used jets and flying them for decades, which I agree with.
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ltbewr
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Re: Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:32 pm

It all comes down to the accountants. They calculate to the penny what is a financial break even point to sell, return to lessors, sell off as parts or scarp. Tax laws including depreciation, resell pricing of early models being lower than later ones even if have plenty of cycles/hours left on the airframe, costs to do major mx and checks. Adding to the previous factors, structural and electrical and upgrades for safety that may be too costly so ending an aircraft's life so early a sound financial decision.
 
DfwRevolution
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Re: Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:44 pm

OA940 wrote:
Most airlines retire their planes nowadays after 10-15 years.


"Most" is an overstatement.
I have a three post per topic limit. You're welcome to have the last word.
 
Newbiepilot
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Re: Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:29 am

OA940 wrote:
Most airlines retire their planes nowadays after 10-15 years. Probs because every airline appears to be losing money (calm down it's a joke). Delta is notorious for buying used jets and flying them for decades, which I agree with.


Other than Alaska Airlines retiring some 12 year old MD80s around 2008, I can't think of a US airline that retired airplanes less than 15 years old.
 
AirbusA6
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Re: Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:54 am

BA's early A320s (the non standard ex BCal ones from the plane's launch) all lasted 20 years which is still reasonable...
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vv701
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Re: Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:07 pm

Check out the five A 320 Type 111s that were ordered by BCal but delivered to BA after the latter bought BCal. Note that these five aircraft were all amongst the first 18 320s manufactured:

G-BUSB: LN 006; d.d. 30 Mar 88; wfu 27 Nov 07; age 19.7 yrs; t.t. 35.643 hrs; 28,365 cycles
G-BUSC: LN 008; d.d. 26 May 88; wfu 30 Sep 07; age 19.3 yrs. t.t. 35,630 hrs; 28,489 cycles
G-BUSD: LN 011; d.d. 21 Jul 88; wfu 27 Oct 06; age 18.3 yrs
G-BUSE: LN 017; d.d. 01 Dec 88; wfu 28 Dec 07; age 19.1 yrs; t.t. 34,346 hrs; 29,462 cycles
G-BUSF: LN 018; d.d. 26 May 89; wfu 31 Aug 07 age 18.3 yrs; t.t. 33,077 hrs; 26,589 cycles

The second batch of 320s ordered by BCal but delivered to BA were all 320-211s. On average they remained in service a little longer than the five 111s. The last to be withdrawn from use was 'SJ (LN 109). It was delivered on 6 August 1990. It was withdrawn from use on 31 August 2011, So it was operational for a little over 21 years. It had accumulated 41,022 flying hours by 31 December 2010. This was more than 18 months before it was withdrawn from use. So it may have flown for a total of approaching 44,000 hours by then as it flew 1,966 hours in calendar 2009 and 1,736 hours in calendar 2008.

Data for the 320 111s from contemporaneous editions of 'Aviation Letter', for the 320 211s from the CAA web site, again contemporaneously.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:20 pm

Newbiepilot wrote:
For comparison the 737 was designed for 75,000 cycles. I have heard that the structural repair costs get outrageously expensive for the early A320s. Airbus addressed many of the initial design problems. UA didn't get any of the early bird A320s.

Airbus did extend the cycles and hour limits beyond the initial 48/60 threshold since the oldest planes passed those thresholds around 2008. Doing so on the early production airplanes comes at a high maintenance cost.


I do not agree with your comments, the early 737s were 34,000 cycles, 34,000 flight hours http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeroma ... 2012_q4/2/

The Airbus maintenance schedule is one of phase checks ( Maintenance Steering Group 3), they dont have "D checks", they would have C4 & C8 checks. The 737 predates Maintenance Steering Group 3, it was originally Maintenance Steering Group 2 if I am not mistaken. Later 737s are now also Maintenance Steering Group 3.

A comparison of heavy checks in this document, they stse the A320 heavy checks are cheaper than the 737-800 http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/workgroups ... -AC-MR.pdf

Some more detail on A320 maintenance costs http://cdn.aviaforum.ru/images/2009/03/ ... fa8679.pdf

The main reason I think older A320s are being phased out is due to their mod status and avionics differences from newer delivered A320s. If one were to look at the avionics differences between the early A320s and latest, and the cost of upgrading, it would be economically more viable to purchase a new replacement frame built to the current standard. For example the early A320s did not have GPS, mode S transponders, ADS-B, ADS-C, datalink, and very limited memory storage on the FMS.
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Newbiepilot
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Re: Why the huge difference in retirement age?

Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:05 pm

zeke wrote:
Newbiepilot wrote:
For comparison the 737 was designed for 75,000 cycles. I have heard that the structural repair costs get outrageously expensive for the early A320s. Airbus addressed many of the initial design problems. UA didn't get any of the early bird A320s.

Airbus did extend the cycles and hour limits beyond the initial 48/60 threshold since the oldest planes passed those thresholds around 2008. Doing so on the early production airplanes comes at a high maintenance cost.


I do not agree with your comments, the early 737s were 34,000 cycles, 34,000 flight hours http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeroma ... 2012_q4/2/

The Airbus maintenance schedule is one of phase checks ( Maintenance Steering Group 3), they dont have "D checks", they would have C4 & C8 checks. The 737 predates Maintenance Steering Group 3, it was originally Maintenance Steering Group 2 if I am not mistaken. Later 737s are now also Maintenance Steering Group 3.

A comparison of heavy checks in this document, they stse the A320 heavy checks are cheaper than the 737-800 http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/workgroups ... -AC-MR.pdf

Some more detail on A320 maintenance costs http://cdn.aviaforum.ru/images/2009/03/ ... fa8679.pdf

The main reason I think older A320s are being phased out is due to their mod status and avionics differences from newer delivered A320s. If one were to look at the avionics differences between the early A320s and latest, and the cost of upgrading, it would be economically more viable to purchase a new replacement frame built to the current standard. For example the early A320s did not have GPS, mode S transponders, ADS-B, ADS-C, datalink, and very limited memory storage on the FMS.


Good point regarding early 737s having limits of validity of 34,000. Those were not the design lives but in the early 1960s, fatigue was still not understood as well as it is today and there were no limits of validity back then. The A320 has also had a design evolution.

The 737NG is an MSG-3 airplane. 737CL is MSG-2. The 737NG use phased C checks with no D check at most airlines. The 737 doesn't actually have a set C check schedule any more. It can be done on a phased basis where most airlines choose to do A and C checks with C checks being closer to 3 years for some airlines. The article you provided from IATA in 2012 does not account for the maintenance program changes that were approved in 2014 that essentially ended the 2 year C Check requirement for 737NGs and the 737MAX, so its costs are not current.

The A320neo has had similar maintenance extensions but the early A320s were limited in what they could adopt and the avionics is a great example.

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