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What makes an airline retire a plane, and how old are they when retire them?

Answers:1   |   LastAnswerAt:2011.03  

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Asked at 2011.03.09 02:04:04
i heard two things...im kinda hoping they are myths, i dunno.

1. they really still fly planes that go as far back as the 70s
2. they really do still fly planes that were in accidents...after fixing them....
answer The Shadow  Answered at 2011.03.09 02:04:04
It's not the age that dictates whether an aircraft is retired. It's based more on economics and "cycles" (departures and landings). A newer aircraft that has many cycles will have more wear and tear on it than an older aircraft that has fewer cycles. Aircraft manufacturers certify their aircraft for a maximum number of cycles, not a maximum age.

Aircraft are retired when they have enough cycles that it is no longer economically feasible to keep repairing them and flying them. They are also retired if they use too much fuel and it is cheaper to replace them with newer, more economical aircraft.

Most airline fleets have an average age of under twenty years. However, there are a few exceptions. Northwest still flies DC-9's from the 1960's.

Yes, damaged aircraft can be repaired and safely flown if the damage is not too severe. It's no different that your car. Would you junk a perfectly good car because of a dent in the fender? Of course not. You would have the fender replaced. Airlines do the same thing. On the other hand, you would junk it if the car would no longer be safe to drive or if it costs more to fix than the car is worth. Airlines do the same thing.
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