Re: Are cargo planes generally old ?

Date:         12 May 99 02:49:03 
From:         Steve Lacker <no@spam.thanks>
Organization: Applied Research Laboratories - The University of Texas at Austin
References:   1
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Frank Muenker wrote:
> I recently noticed on various trips that cargo planes seem to be generally
> very old.

Not always true. The last 14 or so 727's ever built (circa 1984) were built
without windows and were delivered direct to Federal Express. Brand new
freighters. Since then, a number of other A/C have been available as
off-the-line freighters- notably the 747-400F, 757F, MD-11F, and one or more
of the Airbus planes as well.

> Shouldn't cargo airplanes have the same problems/calculations concerning
> fuel consumption, maintenance costs, etc. ?

No. Freighters have a compltely different utilization schedule. They spend
FAR fewer hours per day in the air than do passenger A/C. Its also simply not
true that age correlates with maintenance cost.  An airframe that has a long
life expectancy  but with only moderate (or outright poor!) fuel efficiency
can still be highly profitable as a freighter. The DC-8 falls into that
category- apparently they are REALLY rugged airframes- and so they are
tremendously popular as freighters. Their low maintenance cost and low
initial cost, amortized over many years of service, offset their higher fuel
burn.

-- Stephen G. Lacker
slacker at arlut dot utexas dot  edu
sglacker at texas dot net