What is Next for a Retired Aircraft ?

Every aircraft used in the aviation industry has a lifetime. Airplanes that have been flying from one end of the world to the other end of their lives retire after a certain period of time. So what happens to these planes that have expired? Just as every product used for service purposes has an expiry date, there is also such a time on airplanes.

The aircraft, which have served passengers in different fleets for a long time, are retired from the fleet and sent to various places of the world to be dismantled.

According to the general opinion, the aircraft should be new. Older aircraft are found to be more unsafe. In fact, there are those who claim that the main issue to be discussed at this point is not that the plane is old but that it is left without maintenance. So which one is right? Old planes aren’t safe?

To explain…

It is known that there are approximately 45-year-old passenger aircraft that continue their commercial activities without interruption. The Airbus-300 is one example of this. Although an old plane is cheaper than a new one, this does not mean that the passenger plane is unsafe.

Why Airline Don’t Prefer Old Aircraft?

As long as the maintenance of the old model aircraft is not interrupted, there are no safety problems in flights. Nevertheless, the exact judgment of the passengers on this issue is that they do not want old aircraft. This is the same for airlines.

You ask why? Here’s the answer.

Aircraft maintenance periods decrease over the years and require more maintenance. Consequently, as the frequency of maintenance increases, controls have to be made in shorter periods. An airline’s perspective on this situation will not be very positive. Because planes have to fly to bring profit to the airline company. In other words, for an airline company with increasing maintenance frequency, it is not a return but a lump sum. Continuous maintenance of aircraft means cost for the company.

For this reason, companies want to continue with new airplanes instead of old ones. In this change decision, it is effective to choose the new aircraft to avoid cost, not that the aircraft are unsafe because they are old.

In addition, new models of planes are preferred by airline companies because they are more fuel-efficient and are being renewed day by day with the developing technology.

Airplane Grave: Davis-Monthan Air Base

Located in the city of Tuscon in the state of Arizona, Davis-Monthan Air Base is home to approximately 5 (five) thousand planes that have completed their life, including warplanes. The reason for choosing Arizona for the aircraft graveyard is generally meteorological conditions. Aircraft materials can stand for a long time without rusting and wearing in hot, dry weather with low humidity. Spare parts waiting to be sent all over the world are stored in the hangars in the cemetery.

Davis-Monthan Air Base
Davis-Monthan Air Base

Southern California Logistics Airport

We learned that aircraft materials need humid air to keep them from rusting. Another important plane graveyard is the Southern California Logistics Airport, also located in the US state of California. Airlines started to remove Boeing 747 aircraft, the Queen of the Skies, from their fleet, with rising fuel costs and the introduction of 2-engine long-range aircraft. Southern California Logistics Airport, the last stop of the planes leaving the fleet, is home to hundreds of retired aircraft.

Southern California Logistics Airport
Southern California Logistics Airport


Aircraft can sometimes be used for different purposes after retirement. How would it feel to stay in a retired B747 hotel? Yes, some of the retired aircraft are turned into hotels by entrepreneurs and offer an alternative holiday opportunity. Besides, it is possible to find plane restaurants and airplane cafes.

Jumbo Hostel stockholm retired aircraft
Jumbo Hostel stockholm
source: pinterest
Plane Restaurant retired aircraft
Plane Restaurant
source:CNN

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