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leghorn
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airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:56 am

Some might find this interesting. registration to the website is free.
https://aviationweek.com/mro/fleet-agin ... ins-strong
"Oliver Wyman’s report shows that there are 2.5 times more aircraft 25 years or older in service now than there were 10 years ago."
 
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PacoMartin
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:09 pm

Delta, once had the oldest major fleet in the world. Although they still have many jets over 25 years old, their average fleet age is getting younger. United now has the oldest fleet in the US.

To be more specific, United's 21 Boeing 777-300ER and 51 Dreamliners means they have a younger widebody fleet than Delta, but Delta's narrow body fleet is now a full year younger than United's.
 
VSMUT
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:16 pm

leghorn wrote:
Some might find this interesting. registration to the website is free.
https://aviationweek.com/mro/fleet-agin ... ins-strong
"Oliver Wyman’s report shows that there are 2.5 times more aircraft 25 years or older in service now than there were 10 years ago."


The global aircraft fleet has also grown something like the same amount. It just shows that older aircraft haven't been scrapped as fast as new aircraft are being introduced.

If/when we head into a global recession again, old aircraft will head to the chop-shop en-masse and the numbers of old aircraft will drop again.
 
NonTechAvLover
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:18 pm

leghorn wrote:
Some might find this interesting. registration to the website is free.
https://aviationweek.com/mro/fleet-agin ... ins-strong
"Oliver Wyman’s report shows that there are 2.5 times more aircraft 25 years or older in service now than there were 10 years ago."


Thank you for the information and the reference. Any idea how the number of aircraft in service changed in the last 10 years? The number of aircraft 25 years or older increasing in itself does not mean the entire global fleet is older.
 
leghorn
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:21 pm

VSMUT wrote:
leghorn wrote:
Some might find this interesting. registration to the website is free.
https://aviationweek.com/mro/fleet-agin ... ins-strong
"Oliver Wyman’s report shows that there are 2.5 times more aircraft 25 years or older in service now than there were 10 years ago."


The global aircraft fleet has also grown something like the same amount. It just shows that older aircraft haven't been scrapped as fast as new aircraft are being introduced.

If/when we head into a global recession again, old aircraft will head to the chop-shop en-masse and the numbers of old aircraft will drop again.

Those A320s, ATRs and 737-NGs will survive longer than some of the others. I'm not sure the chop-shops will get the deluge of the models they are hoping to get.
A lot of what will be scrapped will have no demand and will be melted down to make aluminium cans.
 
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PacoMartin
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:54 pm

I used to think investment in new jets would pay off in profitability, But AA spent billions, and they can't translate that into profits.

# jets - Airline - Average age in years
796 United 15.8
909 Delta Airlines 15.2
744 Southwest 11.9
945 American 11.2
American Airlines has only 7 jets over 25 years old, while Southwest has zero.


# jets - Airline - Average age in years
29 Sun Country 14.8
100 Allegiant Air 13.8
259 JetBlue 10.8
61 Hawaiian 8.9
332 Alaska 8.1
147 Spirit 6.0
98 Frontier 4.0
82 Volaris 5.0
 
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Antaras
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:09 pm

Fleets are getting older => Planes are having higher quality, alongside with better maitenance works from the carriers => Can be a positive trend ??? :D ???
Btw, some coutries and carriers are avoiding old airframes. Airframes' ages rules are created in many countries, especially in Asia (Vietnam says "Hello!")
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FLALEFTY
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 6:23 pm

PacoMartin wrote:
I used to think investment in new jets would pay off in profitability, But AA spent billions, and they can't translate that into profits.

# jets - Airline - Average age in years
796 United 15.8
909 Delta Airlines 15.2
744 Southwest 11.9
945 American 11.2
American Airlines has only 7 jets over 25 years old, while Southwest has zero.


# jets - Airline - Average age in years
29 Sun Country 14.8
100 Allegiant Air 13.8
259 JetBlue 10.8
61 Hawaiian 8.9
332 Alaska 8.1
147 Spirit 6.0
98 Frontier 4.0
82 Volaris 5.0


You are correct. The purchase of new jets actually have a damping effect on profits in the short-term due to their high capital cost. Renewing an airline fleet is a long-term business strategy. If an airline is posting steady operating losses, has a bad credit rating and is carrying a high debt load, renewing the fleet is not a prescription for recovery.

On a side note, looking at your list at the rapidly-growing sizes of Frontier's and Spirit's fleets makes me wonder when, not if these two LCC's decide to merge to reach critical mass on a national level? They are essentially competing in the same cities for the same "white shoes", low-yield passenger market and neither airline truly dominates a US major hub airport (although Spirit is #2 at MCO and FLL, Frontier #3 in DEN).
 
1989worstyear
Posts: 887
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:34 pm

leghorn wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
leghorn wrote:
Some might find this interesting. registration to the website is free.
https://aviationweek.com/mro/fleet-agin ... ins-strong
"Oliver Wyman’s report shows that there are 2.5 times more aircraft 25 years or older in service now than there were 10 years ago."


The global aircraft fleet has also grown something like the same amount. It just shows that older aircraft haven't been scrapped as fast as new aircraft are being introduced.

If/when we head into a global recession again, old aircraft will head to the chop-shop en-masse and the numbers of old aircraft will drop again.

Those A320s, ATRs and 737-NGs will survive longer than some of the others. I'm not sure the chop-shops will get the deluge of the models they are hoping to get.
A lot of what will be scrapped will have no demand and will be melted down to make aluminium cans.


Those models were all introduced between 1985-97, remember.
Stuck at age 15 thanks to the certification date of the A320-200 and my parents' decision to postpone having a kid by 3 years. At least there's Dignitas...
 
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Pudelhund
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:43 pm

Just like the average age of cars on the road keeps increasing, and for the same reason. They are more reliable and last longer than cars of previous generations.
 
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Slash787
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:52 pm

Iran Air

Cubana

Air Koryo
 
DLPMMM
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:59 pm

PacoMartin wrote:
Delta, once had the oldest major fleet in the world. Although they still have many jets over 25 years old, their average fleet age is getting younger. United now has the oldest fleet in the US.

To be more specific, United's 21 Boeing 777-300ER and 51 Dreamliners means they have a younger widebody fleet than Delta, but Delta's narrow body fleet is now a full year younger than United's.


I also remember when DL had the youngest fleet of the majors in the USA in the 1980s.

These things go in cycles along with Cap Ex.
 
TheWorm123
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:15 pm

Slash787 wrote:
Iran Air

Cubana

Air Koryo

The circumstances are different for those airlines, mostly political and despotic.
B752 B753 A332 A321 B738
 
oldJoe
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:36 pm

TheWorm123 wrote:
Slash787 wrote:
Iran Air

Cubana

Air Koryo

The circumstances are different for those airlines, mostly political and despotic.


If Iran could buy new planes freely, it wood be a complete different picture
In Cuba you can find much older cars on the road than anything on any airport. Time will tell !
Air Koryo ? The main head of the country is not an AvGeek, he prefers to travel by train
 
ThaneC
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:58 pm

I recently flew on two United 767-300 flights (EWR-LIS) and the aircraft were 27 & 28 years old. The interiors had been refreshed in the last few years but the exterior was really ragged with large sections of peeling paint all over the aircraft. Not good for the brand, not does it instill confidence in passengers to view the airplanes from the boarding areas.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:10 pm

Pudelhund wrote:
Just like the average age of cars on the road keeps increasing, and for the same reason. They are more reliable and last longer than cars of previous generations.


I don't think you'll want to try to argue that point, not in narrowbodies, anyway. Lots of A320s got retired before they hit 30 years old while plenty of DC-9s and MD-80/88s soldiered on. I am suspicious that 737NGs will last as long (in widespread commercial service with major carriers) as 737-300/400/500s did when WN and AA talk about retiring 20-22 year old examples.

You can turn around the argument: Boeing and Airbus are giving fleets a reason to buy new only every ~25 years so old aircraft are kept flying closer to their full mechanical lives. It's the duopoly arrangement: you don't have to be good, you just have to show up.
 
smflyer
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 12:39 am

ThaneC wrote:
I recently flew on two United 767-300 flights (EWR-LIS) and the aircraft were 27 & 28 years old. The interiors had been refreshed in the last few years but the exterior was really ragged with large sections of peeling paint all over the aircraft. Not good for the brand, not does it instill confidence in passengers to view the airplanes from the boarding areas.


Most passengers don't pay attention to planes on the tarmac, they are distracted with activities in the terminal (eg. eating, shopping, phone). Passengers only notice the interior of the aircraft and use that as the gauge of the "newness" of the aircraft. Many posters here have noted they have heard fellow passengers comment how old the AA 737 Max 8 interior looks since it doesn't have IFE wheras heard passengers say how new a DL A319 is which has newly refurbished interior with new IFE while the aircraft is 25+ years old.
 
Cubsrule
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:02 am

MIflyer12 wrote:
Pudelhund wrote:
Just like the average age of cars on the road keeps increasing, and for the same reason. They are more reliable and last longer than cars of previous generations.


I don't think you'll want to try to argue that point, not in narrowbodies, anyway. Lots of A320s got retired before they hit 30 years old while plenty of DC-9s and MD-80/88s soldiered on. I am suspicious that 737NGs will last as long (in widespread commercial service with major carriers) as 737-300/400/500s did when WN and AA talk about retiring 20-22 year old examples.

You can turn around the argument: Boeing and Airbus are giving fleets a reason to buy new only every ~25 years so old aircraft are kept flying closer to their full mechanical lives. It's the duopoly arrangement: you don't have to be good, you just have to show up.


It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? What percentage of (planned) 3M8 routes can the 738 operate? The percentage is MUCH higher than if we asked the same question of the 734 vis a vis the 738. So in that regard, there’s somewhat less retirement motivation.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
ikramerica
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:14 am

WN retired their last classics to make way for the MAX as pilots couldn’t fly all 3 at once.

Whoops!
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
TTailedTiger
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:29 am

Airlines used to replace planes much more quickly. Look at how quickly planes like the D-6, DC-7, 707, 720, DC-8, DC-9-10/15/20 were replaced. Most were less than ten years old.

AA was probably the worst offender for bad fleet decisions. They dumped new MD-90's, 737 Classics, and 717's while keeping around fuel guzzling and three-man 727's.
 
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Melbourne
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:36 am

Slash787 wrote:
Iran Air

Cubana

Air Koryo

Cubana has an average fleet age of 11.6 years with the eldest Russian built aircraft being a 2005 Il-96-300

Air Koryo utilises its fleet of 2 Tu-204s and 2 An-148s on the majority of scheduled services it operates with an average age of 12 years between the 4 the eldest being the 2007 Tu-204.
 
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PacoMartin
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:16 am

Leaving out the narrow bodies of choice in the last decade, the A321s, A220s, and B739s there is a significant population of aging narrowbodies for United and Delta.

499 Delta Airlines 21.3 years
57 Airbus A319 18.0
62 Airbus A320 24.5
91 Boeing 717 18.4
10 Boeing 737-700 11.1
77 Boeing 737-800 18.5
111 Boeing 757-200 23.3
16 Boeing 757-300 17.1

435 United Airlines 19.1 years
82 Airbus A319-100 18.2
99 Airbus A320 21.5
41 Boeing 737-700 20.8
141 Boeing 737-800 16.0
51 Boeing 757-200 23.6
21 Boeing 757-300 17.5

519 American 13.2 years
133 Airbus A319-100 15.9
48 Airbus A320-200 18.9
304 Boeing 737-800 10.3
34 Boeing 757-200 20.3

Many people feel that as the total number of air passengers keeps increasing, it is natural that the airlines will continue to move to larger narrowbodies and abandon the planes with fewer than 150 seats.

I think that is true, but airports with low numbers of total passengers seem to inherently require smaller jets to service them. With the exception of Delta who is investing in the A220, with no fleet renewal at the small end, I think that it will be easy for the US-3 to abandon the small airports than to try and replace hundreds of aging jets in a few years.

Even Southwest with only two sizes (143 seats and 175 seats) still flies to some airports exclusively with the 143 seat models. Only Hawaii airports are served exclusively with the 175 seat jets.

DLPMMM wrote:
I also remember when DL had the youngest fleet of the majors in the USA in the 1980s.
These things go in cycles along with Cap Ex.


I don't think this trend is a cycle. I don't think the US fleet has ever had over a thousand aging narrowbodies at once.
 
zkncj
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:57 am

It comes down to the airlines bussiness model, and how that bussiness mode works best for them.

If you take NZ for example there average fleet age is 7.8years (which soon improve shortly with the exit of the last 72-500s).

For them they are profitable, and have the cash flow to enable there fleet to be newer. Which in term allows them to save operating costs by using newer aircraft.
 
SPREE34
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:22 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
Airlines used to replace planes much more quickly. Look at how quickly planes like the D-6, DC-7, 707, 720, DC-8, DC-9-10/15/20 were replaced. Most were less than ten years old. .....


Technology and aircraft advancements were happining much faster back then.
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
catiii
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:26 am

ThaneC wrote:
I recently flew on two United 767-300 flights (EWR-LIS) and the aircraft were 27 & 28 years old. The interiors had been refreshed in the last few years but the exterior was really ragged with large sections of peeling paint all over the aircraft. Not good for the brand, not does it instill confidence in passengers to view the airplanes from the boarding areas.


Which tails? I’d find that hard to believe because as many go through the restyle they’re getting repainted.
 
dstblj52
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:27 am

PacoMartin wrote:
Leaving out the narrow bodies of choice in the last decade, the A321s, A220s, and B739s there is a significant population of aging narrowbodies for United and Delta.

499 Delta Airlines 21.3 years
57 Airbus A319 18.0
62 Airbus A320 24.5
91 Boeing 717 18.4
10 Boeing 737-700 11.1
77 Boeing 737-800 18.5
111 Boeing 757-200 23.3
16 Boeing 757-300 17.1

435 United Airlines 19.1 years
82 Airbus A319-100 18.2
99 Airbus A320 21.5
41 Boeing 737-700 20.8
141 Boeing 737-800 16.0
51 Boeing 757-200 23.6
21 Boeing 757-300 17.5

519 American 13.2 years
133 Airbus A319-100 15.9
48 Airbus A320-200 18.9
304 Boeing 737-800 10.3
34 Boeing 757-200 20.3

Many people feel that as the total number of air passengers keeps increasing, it is natural that the airlines will continue to move to larger narrowbodies and abandon the planes with fewer than 150 seats.

I think that is true, but airports with low numbers of total passengers seem to inherently require smaller jets to service them. With the exception of Delta who is investing in the A220, with no fleet renewal at the small end, I think that it will be easy for the US-3 to abandon the small airports than to try and replace hundreds of aging jets in a few years.

Even Southwest with only two sizes (143 seats and 175 seats) still flies to some airports exclusively with the 143 seat models. Only Hawaii airports are served exclusively with the 175 seat jets.

DLPMMM wrote:
I also remember when DL had the youngest fleet of the majors in the USA in the 1980s.
These things go in cycles along with Cap Ex.


I don't think this trend is a cycle. I don't think the US fleet has ever had over a thousand aging narrowbodies at once.

Part of that reason I agree that up gauging is not going to be the cure-all believed is that the population is not growing evenly and its increasingly concentrating on bigger cities leaving a fairly major delta in growth rates between small cities and towns and the big cities.
 
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PacoMartin
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:19 pm

dstblj52 wrote:
Part of that reason I agree that up gauging is not going to be the cure-all believed is that the population is not growing evenly and its increasingly concentrating on bigger cities leaving a fairly major delta in growth rates between small cities and towns and the big cities.


They certainly are holding on to the small jets forever, or buying used ones. But at some point you will need new ones, and you can't buy a hundred planes per year.

N401UA Airbus A320-200 United Airlines Nov 1993 C12Y126
N309US Airbus A320-200 Delta Air Lines Oct 1990 C12W18Y120
N801UA Airbus A319-100 United Airlines Jun 1997 C8Y120
N301NB Airbus A319-100 Delta Air Lines Aug 1999 C16Y108

I am convinced that United is going to weed out SMALL airports, and stick to MEDIUM and LARGE ones. I say United because Delta has the 220s on order .
 
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Spacepope
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:08 pm

N401UA: No reports since Christmas 2017 when it had 75,000 hours/29,000 cycles. Should be in the low 80,000s now, with 32-33,000 cycles.
N309US: Last SDR June 2019. 86,331 hours, 39,283 cycles. Should be good for one more HMV before cycles start to be an issue.
N801UA: Last SDR May 2019. 70,080 hours, 29,614 cycles.
N301NB: Last SDR September 2019. 54,906 hours, 28,798 cycles.

The interesting breakdown here besides utilizing an airfraime for its entire useful life is the employment strategies. The A320 fleet is being used roughly similarly, while NW/DL was utilizing the A319 fleet on much shorter and more frequent stages than UA (roughly equivalent cycles in 2 years shorter time with much less flight time).
The last of the famous international playboys
 
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PacoMartin
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:21 pm

dstblj52 wrote:
Part of that reason I agree that up gauging is not going to be the cure-all believed is that the population is not growing evenly and its increasingly concentrating on bigger cities leaving a fairly major delta in growth rates between small cities and towns and the big cities.


In the last century the rural population has grown from 50.2 million to 59.5 million. The urban population, boosted by international immigration, has grown sixfold from 42.1 million to 249.3 million. Much of the "urban" population does not live in large conglomerations, but in small urban clusters.

rural - census - urban
59.5 2010 249.3
59.1 2000 222.4
61.7 1990 187.1
59.5 1980 167.1
53.6 1970 149.6
54.1 1960 125.3
54.5 1950 96.8
57.5 1940 74.7
54.0 1930 69.2
51.8 1920 54.3
50.2 1910 42.1

A fleet consisting of wholly 739s, Max-9s, and A321s will be ideal for United to shuttle around between its six hubs and another dozen of its major destinations outside of the hubs (Boston, Vegas, Orlando, etc.) But they will always need 738s, Max-8s, A320s for the smaller urban destinations, and 737s and A319 for the rural destinations.

Personally, I don't think they can do it. Delta and United are still acquiring widebody and larger narrowbody aircraft. Delta has 29 Airbus A220s in the fleet so at least they have that over United. The cost of acquiring all of those smaller narrowbodies will not be justified by the potential market. Either they are going to break the 76 seat limit for regionals in the pilot contracts, or there is going to be even more limited number of US3 flights at smaller airports.

With Spirit acquiring 47 new A319neos, and Breeze beginning operations, maybe LCC airlines will fill in for the larger airlines.
 
tnair1974
Posts: 321
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Re: airline fleets are getting older

Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:09 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
Airlines used to replace planes much more quickly. Look at how quickly planes like the DC-6, DC-7, 707, 720, DC-8, DC-9-10/15/20 were replaced. Most were less than ten years old.

This may be an oversimplification, but airliners don't seem to become obsolete (economically, performance wise, etc) as quickly as they use to.

True, DC-6s were relatively reliable for their era. Some DC-6s flew about two decades with original operators. But DC-7s, Boeing Stratocruisers and the 1649 models of the Constellation had far shorter careers; their more powerful piston engines also had more moving parts and thus were rather cantankerous. IIRC, both AA and NW retired all their newer but less reliable DC-7s before the DC-6s finally exited their fleets.

TWA's 1649 Constellations could stay aloft for up to 23 hours if not more. Needless to say, this incredible endurance became quickly moot when jetliners arrived on the scene. Little wonder passengers liked the much faster, virtually vibration-free rides of jets. Little wonder airlines liked the lower maintenance costs (including much longer times between overhauls) of jet engines over piston powerplants.

Of course, the oil crises of the early 1970s saw relatively young but gas guzzling 707s/720s/early DC-8s/880s/990s start to head to boneyards. This was especially true of those birds with turbojet (straight pipe) powerplants.

Even in more recent times, some A318s were scrapped even though they were less than a decade old. Although shrinks of original planes tend to have poorer economics, the parting out of younger frames still seems to be the exception these days.
 
Wingtips56
Posts: 1291
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:26 am

Re: airline fleets are getting older

Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:56 am

TTailedTiger wrote:

AA was probably the worst offender for bad fleet decisions. They dumped new MD-90's, 737 Classics, and 717's while keeping around fuel guzzling and three-man 727's.

Hardly. AA's structure didn't/doesn't work with a variety of mini sub fleets, and all of these were small numbers from mergers. 731/732/733 all from AirCal. 10 733 sold off to WN. 731/732 were all a mixed bag of different models mostly used from other airlines. 2 731 from Colombia. Each station in the OC system had a case of microfiche data for each 732 variation; I think the most that were of the same versions were the 8 or so 1968 first generation ex-PSA birds. N461GB turned out to be the highest cycle Boeing in service at the time; found to have a cracked aft bulkhead like the JL747 disaster and separating skin like the AQ convertable. Only a couple were 732 Advanced. 2 732QC from Wien. Others were from UA, WA, Aloha, S. Africa military, and who knows. 6? Bae-146 from OC. 2 MD87 and 3-4 MD90 from RenoAir. The MD80s from QQ were different. The 717 from TW too few and not needed in the class against the F100s. Meanwhile, AA had 125 matching 727-223. Economies of standardization.
Worked for WestAir, Apollo Airways, Desert Pacific, Western, AirCal and American Airlines (Retired). Flight Memory: 181 airports, 92 airlines, 78 a/c types, 403 routes, 58 countries (by air), 6 continents. 1,119,414 passenger miles.

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