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Australian study on the impact of ageing aircraft on aviation safety
6 February 2007

An ATSB report shows that the average age of many aircraft in Australia is increasing but that this should not reduce safety if quality maintenance systems are in place. The report found that the average age of Australia`s turbofan aircraft used in regular passenger transport is very low. The ATSB report also examined the age trend for turboprop aircraft, mostly used in low capacity airline services. The turboprop fleet had an average age of 18 years by the end of 2005, which was 2 years older than was the case in 1995. With few new aircraft being manufactured in this category, additional and specific maintenance will be the key strategy to ensure these aircraft meet the necessary airworthiness standards for passenger operations. Managing the consequences of an ageing aircraft population requires cooperative approaches by operators, manufacturers and national regulators to ensure that any defects identified by one operator are notified quickly and efficiently within the industry. If quality maintenance systems are in place, ageing aircraft need not lead to reduced safety. (ATSB)