Oil price gives old planes new lease of life

Airlines dust off old planes to get them back in the air

The dramatic fall in oil prices is propelling to an intriguing trend – a new lease of life for older aircraft. Passenger jets that had been destined to be retired, such as the four-engine Airbus A340 or earlier Boeing 747 models, are winning a stay of execution, aircraft financiers say.

“We are seeing a big pick-up in demand for aircraft we thought we would scrap,” Aengus Kelly, chief executive of AerCap, the world’s biggest independent leasing company, said at the Airline Economics conference in Dublin.

AerCap is now leasing out older planes instead of sending them to be dismantled, as lower fuel prices are making them viable again. It also means airlines are dusting off old planes from storage to get them back in the air.

This is reversing the earlier trend of record orders for new-generation fuel-saving aircraft. Orders will remain in place, but older planes now look set to stay in the skies beyond the 18 to 19 years originally intended.



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