Airliner Life

From: (Jim Haynes)
Organization: University of California; Santa Cruz
Date:         12 Feb 93 11:12:09 PST
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I got to wondering how long an airliner lasts and why.  Since the beginning
of the jet era all the airliners go about the same speed.  I guess some
planes have been retired from service because of fuel economy or noise.
Is fuel economy just a matter of engine development, or have there been
improvements in airplane design that result in greater fuel economy?
(i.e. why don't they just put newer/quieter engines in old airplanes?)
I've read of concerns about the number of takeoffs and landings, hence the
number of pressurization/depressurization cycles; do airliners really
"wear out" in this respect.  What other factors cause an airliner to wear
out, or to be retired from first-line service before it is worn out?

"Ya can talk all ya wanna, but it's dif'rent than it was!"
"No it aint!  But ya gotta know the territory!"
        Meredith Willson: "The Music Man"