Aircraft Retirement Ages: Down Again (With One Exception)


I have written a series of stories the past couple of weeks on the trend in aircraft average retirement ages, which has serious implications for a lot of businesses involved in the aviation industry: airlines, aircraft manufacturers, aircraft lessors, financiers, parts suppliers, parting-out specialists and more. The trend has been to younger retirements in recent years, which has caused some alarm, so what happened in 2012? The age declined again, and pretty significantly. Whether that has bottomed out or not is an open question, which I discuss in this column. You'll also find some details there about which widebody and narrowbody aircraft are driving the downward trend. (I'll have another story coming soon that takes a closer look at Airbus models specifically.)

For more detail on what is happening with regional jet retirement ages, as a whole and by type, look here. All of the 50-seater jets are major factors, of course, but the most interesting aspect going forward may be what happens with the 50-seat Embraer ERJs and how Rolls-Royce engine policies come into play.

Then there the turboprops, which are bucking the trend. For them, the average retirement is creeping up and the pace of retirements is decelerating.

You also can read about the surge in Boeing 737 Classic storage and retirements last year. And about one of the factors that could reverse the tend.

I know I have not covered all of the bases in these stories, so if you have any input on what is driving these trends, please comment below.



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