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wedgetail737
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"Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 4:19 pm

Hi everyone! I hope everyone is doing well during these trying times. I have a question for the forum. Lately, we've been hearing a lot about airlines permanently retiring aircraft like AS retiring A319s, AA retiring 757's/767's, etc.

Does anyone recall past instances where airlines have brought back older aircraft types? Back in 1980's/1990's, I remember AC had some L-1011-385-1's for the LAX-YYZ route, but was that a returned type?
 
Ishrion
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 4:20 pm

KLM brought the 747 Combis back a few weeks after they "retired" them but for cargo-only services.
 
wedgetail737
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 4:26 pm

I only ask the question because of the state of the airline industry today is very bleak, but what happens in that outside chance, that the economy comes roaring back and all of sudden the airlines have an equipment shortage because they retired them all?
 
hoons90
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 4:34 pm

Lufthansa reactivated a couple of 747-200s between 2002 and 2003 after they were originally taken out of service in late 2001.
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lightsaber
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 4:46 pm

It depends if it is a subfleet of a continuing to operate fleet or of the who process of preparing for flight (pilot training, FA training, maintenance) must be restarted from scratch.

This is unprecedented. While some will see service again, scrapping will be more common this time.
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mxaxai
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 5:22 pm

IIRC Delta retired (or was planning to retire) their DC-9 fleet but then the merger with NW happened and they got to operate these newly acquired DC-9 a while longer.

Lufthansa retired the A330-200 but eventually reintroduced the type through their Eurowings subsidiary.

Thai was planning to return some A340-600 to service in 2020, after storing them in 2015, but those plans were sketchy to begin with and are most certainly under review currently.

US Airways retired the 767 but then the merger with AA brought them back into the combined fleet. Though US operated the -200ER and AA operates the -300ER.

BA cancelled their original order for some A318 but later bought 2 used aircraft for the LCY-(SNN)-JFK service.

Granted most of these aren't the reactivation of stored airframes but it does happen that an airline finds use for an aircraft model years after dismissing it. What's more common is that retired aircraft remain "operational spares" for a short while, so they're not actually scheduled to fly but if another aircraft is AOG or there's a sudden increase in demand that can't be covered with the rest of the fleet (like a sports event or other charter) they can hop in.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 5:35 pm

mxaxai wrote:
IIRC Delta retired (or was planning to retire) their DC-9 fleet but then the merger with NW happened and they got to operate these newly acquired DC-9 a while longer.

Lufthansa retired the A330-200 but eventually reintroduced the type through their Eurowings subsidiary.

Thai was planning to return some A340-600 to service in 2020, after storing them in 2015, but those plans were sketchy to begin with and are most certainly under review currently.

US Airways retired the 767 but then the merger with AA brought them back into the combined fleet. Though US operated the -200ER and AA operates the -300ER.


Those aren't examples that address the OP's question: are there aircraft that were brought back out of retirement by the same carrier?

Delta retired its DC-9s in 1993; IIRC it unretired none of those. AA didn't bring back the US 762s.

Like lightsaber said, this is unprecedented. The premise of the OP's question is a big fleet retirement followed by a sharp snap-back of demand. I don't think there's much likelihood of that, and it doesn't appear to be how the U.S. carriers are planning.
 
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MD80
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 6:19 pm

Air Canada once retired their Lockheed L-1011 TriStar in the 1990s and re-introduced three of these aircraft.
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2175301
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 6:29 pm

It depends on how the aircraft is "retired." There are several levels of "storage" which allow an aircraft to be returned to service by maintaining the aircraft at certain levels of condition and maintenance. Its more likely if an aircraft was stored and maintained appropriately for return to future service. This cost the Airlines money both for the initial storage process and for each month of storage.

Then there are aircraft that are just parked with no storage preparations with the expectation that they will not be returned to service (I expect the DC-9's to be treated as such). They may be used to supply spare parts, and/or for designating scrapping after salvage of parts. These become expensive to reactivate after a few months and increasingly more expensive the longer they sit (and as more parts are removed). There are cases where air-frames have been pulled from the bone-yards and had extensive rehabilitation to bring them back into service (at least on the military end), and Basler will take an unflyable stored DC-3 frame and rebuild/convert it into a BT-67 (with all new wiring, skin, electronics, instruments, engines, seats, etc) and issue a "zero hour" log book for the completed BT-67 (they average 2 per year).
 
concordeforever
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 8:38 pm

BA cancelled their original order for some A318 but later bought 2 used aircraft for the LCY-(SNN)-JFK service.

The BA A318s were certainly not used aircraft, but brand new. I accepted them both in to Gatwick on their delivery flights from Airbus before loading engineering spares on to them for their flights up to London City.

Loved the 32 seat interiors and that brand new aircraft smell.....
 
IADCA
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 9:50 pm

Envoy had all of its E140s stored and then brought a fairly large number back - I think it was around 50 aircraft and zero had been active before that.

Other than that, I'm not aware of it on a fleetwide basis, but it's certainly happened with individual frames - VS unretired an A346 a couple years ago to cover 787 issues, and it stayed until the end.
 
OB1504
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 9:58 pm

IADCA wrote:
Other than that, I'm not aware of it on a fleetwide basis, but it's certainly happened with individual frames - VS unretired an A346 a couple years ago to cover 787 issues, and it stayed until the end.


AA also brought a 767 back from the dead for a year or so to cover for the loss of the 767 at ORD.
 
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77west
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 10:11 pm

South African Airways had A320's in the 90s, then retired them and ordered a bunch of B738, then ordered A320 again in the mid 2000's to replace the B738
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Wingtips56
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Sun May 10, 2020 10:30 pm

OB1504 wrote:
IADCA wrote:
Other than that, I'm not aware of it on a fleetwide basis, but it's certainly happened with individual frames - VS unretired an A346 a couple years ago to cover 787 issues, and it stayed until the end.


AA also brought a 767 back from the dead for a year or so to cover for the loss of the 767 at ORD.

But they were still flying a 767 fleet, with tooling and crewing.
Once a fleet is all grounded - not just subfleets, but the entire type - I don't see any coming back.
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reltney
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Mon May 11, 2020 2:51 am

Delta retired it’s 749 Constellations a few years after they acquired them with the C&S merger. A few years later they bought PanAm tired old 049s because the increased capacity needed..

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n797mx
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Mon May 11, 2020 3:15 am

IADCA wrote:
Envoy had all of its E140s stored and then brought a fairly large number back - I think it was around 50 aircraft and zero had been active before that.


They were never officially "retired". They were in short/long term storage. The big difference being they were still getting maintenance checks.
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KFTG
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Mon May 11, 2020 4:33 am

concordeforever wrote:
BA cancelled their original order for some A318 but later bought 2 used aircraft for the LCY-(SNN)-JFK service.

Yeah, no. G-EUNA and NB were new from Airbus upon delivery to BA.
Titan now operates NB, whereas NA is stored, still with BA.
 
KFTG
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Mon May 11, 2020 4:35 am

mxaxai wrote:
IIRC Delta retired (or was planning to retire) their DC-9 fleet but then the merger with NW happened and they got to operate these newly acquired DC-9 a while longer.

Lufthansa retired the A330-200 but eventually reintroduced the type through their Eurowings subsidiary.

Thai was planning to return some A340-600 to service in 2020, after storing them in 2015, but those plans were sketchy to begin with and are most certainly under review currently.

US Airways retired the 767 but then the merger with AA brought them back into the combined fleet. Though US operated the -200ER and AA operates the -300ER.

BA cancelled their original order for some A318 but later bought 2 used aircraft for the LCY-(SNN)-JFK service.

Granted most of these aren't the reactivation of stored airframes but it does happen that an airline finds use for an aircraft model years after dismissing it. What's more common is that retired aircraft remain "operational spares" for a short while, so they're not actually scheduled to fly but if another aircraft is AOG or there's a sudden increase in demand that can't be covered with the rest of the fleet (like a sports event or other charter) they can hop in.

You have no idea what you're talking about.
 
IADCA
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Mon May 11, 2020 2:24 pm

n797mx wrote:
IADCA wrote:
Envoy had all of its E140s stored and then brought a fairly large number back - I think it was around 50 aircraft and zero had been active before that.


They were never officially "retired". They were in short/long term storage. The big difference being they were still getting maintenance checks.


Ah, my mistake. I didn't realize they were still getting MX.
 
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American 767
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Mon May 11, 2020 4:00 pm

When an airline reintroduces an aircraft that it previously retired, this is usually done through a merger with another airline.
For example Delta, they retired their original DC-9s in 1993 and reintroduced the type 15 or 16 years later through the merger with Northwest. I'm not talking about the MD-88/90, I'm talking about the original DC-9 Series (up to Series 50). This was mentioned above by others. Another one, also with Delta is the DC-10. They retired their original DC-10 fleet in the mid 70s when the L-1011s started to arrive en masse back then, but they reintroduced it also 12 to 15 years later through the merger with Western. The DC-10 at Delta didn't last long, neither in the beginning, nor after the merger with Western.
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Qantas59
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Mon May 11, 2020 5:23 pm

AA had retired the former AirCal 737-200s after leasing them to Braniff 2 in 1989. After Braniff 2 ceased operations they returned to AA, until Sep. 1991.
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NWAROOSTER
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Mon May 11, 2020 5:44 pm

American 767 wrote:
When an airline reintroduces an aircraft that it previously retired, this is usually done through a merger with another airline.
For example Delta, they retired their original DC-9s in 1993 and reintroduced the type 15 or 16 years later through the merger with Northwest. I'm not talking about the MD-88/90, I'm talking about the original DC-9 Series (up to Series 50). This was mentioned above by others. Another one, also with Delta is the DC-10. They retired their original DC-10 fleet in the mid 70s when the L-1011s started to arrive en masse back then, but they reintroduced it also 12 to 15 years later through the merger with Western. The DC-10 at Delta didn't last long, neither in the beginning, nor after the merger with Western.

Delta in the 1970s purchased about five DC-10s when the L1011 became unavailable as Rolls Royce was unable to supply engines as they were having serious problems with the engines and almost went bankrupt except for the fact that the British government bailed them out financially. Delta only bought the DC-10s as stop gap aircraft, sold them to United and leased them back until they could start flying the L1011s. When Delta acquired/merged with Western Airlines, Delta acquired about nine DC-10s which they flew for about two or three years and then sold them as they did not want DC-10 aircraft. I may be wrong, but I think Northeast had some DC-10 aircraft on order and Delta kept the DC-10 order active so as to make up for the absence of the L1011 aircraft and these may be the ones they sold and and leased back from United Airlines. :old:
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reltney
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Tue May 12, 2020 2:55 am

It seems like the Delta constellation retirement I mentioned and bringing them back years later is the only time an airline retired a plane and then brought it back...true, it was not the exact same Retired series but the naked eye could not tell.

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UA735WL
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Tue May 12, 2020 3:48 am

As it turns out, we had a thread on this a while back (with a few good examples!) Definitely worth a read (and I'm not saying that because I started it ;)


viewtopic.php?t=568827
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tcfc424
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Tue May 12, 2020 7:17 am

What might become of AA's 757's? It seems they have some life left, as AA planned to fly them into 2021. Will these be scrapped, converted to freighters, or might some become VIP? Presumably all of these options are possible, just wondering what is most likely, or if anyone has the inside track as to what will become of them. I believe they are all stored at ROW currently.
 
IWMBH
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Tue May 12, 2020 8:49 am

If the price is right and the oil prices stay low, there will be definitely be a market for older airplanes.

But, I think a lot of the planes that are now being send to the desert will stay there.
The prices for new planes will drop like a ton of bricks now a lot of airlines are delaying or canceling orders.
Therefore, airlines that have the money will most likely buy brand new planes.
 
KFTG
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Re: "Permanent" Aircraft Retirement

Tue May 12, 2020 8:59 am

tcfc424 wrote:
Will these be scrapped, converted to freighters, or might some become VIP?

Yes.

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