Safety and Age of Aircraft
Is the age of an aircraft a safety factor?
Aircraft age is not a safety factor. However, if the aircraft is older and hasn’t been refurbished properly, it may cause flyers some inconvenience such as overheating, faulty air conditioning, or faulty plumbing in the lavatory.
More important than an aircraft’s age is its history. The maintenance of the plane should meet or exceed the manufacturer specifications and FAA requirements for Part 135 operations. If it’s been well-maintained, it should be safe.
The next most significant safety factor is pilot experience. They must be familiar with the aircraft, with many flight hours booked in the type.
To remain safe, it’s a good idea to have aircraft maintenance records audited by a third party. Wyvern, ARG/US, and IS-BAO are three of the primary safety auditing organizations. If the aircraft and operator have been audited by one of them and deemed safe, you can be confident that the aircraft meets the necessary safety standards.
New aircraft vs old aircraft: what are the advantages and disadvantages?
Newer aircraft are more expensive, and their owners tend to spend more on the interiors. If an owner pays $10 million for an aircraft, they may want to revamp the interior for an extra $1 million which might include leather seating, wood grain panels, and extravagant lavatories. If the aircraft costs $2 million, they probably won’t. Because of this, newer aircraft often feel more luxurious.
Here are some of the typical advantages of newer aircraft:
- Luxurious interiors
- Cutting-edge entertainment systems
- Modern avionics with more backup systems
- Newer engines
- Increased fuel efficiency
- Faster speeds
What are the advantages of an older aircraft?
Older private jets offer better value for clients. You can save as much as 20-30% on the hourly rate when choosing an old aircraft over a newer one, and you’ll still enjoy an exclusive, private jet experience.
How many years is an aircraft when it’s considered old, new or average?
An aircraft’s age is based on when it was built. Here are the approximate ages for an aircraft:
- Old aircraft = 20+ years
- Standard aircraft = 10-20 years
- New aircraft = 10 years or less
At Paramount Business Jets, we don't recommend aircraft that are over 30 years old to our clients. However, each company has its own standards.
What would you say is the average age of the aircraft that PBJ sources for clients?
Aircraft offered for charter by PBJ range from 2-40 years. Aircraft over 30 years are typically only provided when they’re requested specifically. Usually, private jet clients will fly on a standard aircraft (10-20 years old) or newer, often because clients want more luxurious interiors.
If clients are planning a short trip, they usually request a standard aircraft. As the length of the trip and the size of the aircraft increases, we find that clients tend to request newer aircraft.
Even though a 19-year-old aircraft is considered standard, the 2000 ultra-long-range Gulfstream GV is seen by many as “old” as people chartering larger jets usually favor newer aircraft. A newer alternative is the G550, introduced in 2004, yet some clients will still consider that too old and request a G650.
In contrast, clients are typically much more flexible with the age of smaller aircraft.
Regarding older aircraft in the market, are there more turboprops or heavy jets?
Turboprops are not comparable to jets because most turboprops available for charter are very old, dating back to the early 1970s-1980s. They're rarely renovated, and often have issues with the internal plumbing, heating or AC. Only a handful of new turboprops are available in the charter market.
Do older aircraft have more mechanical issues as they get older?
Old aircraft don't necessarily have more mechanicals if they're well-maintained. Over time, every part of the plane will be replaced with a new part. However, in our experience these older aircraft will still have more operational issues such as faults with the AC, heating and plumbing.