Average age of Qantas plane revealed

what is the average age of qantas planes

While we’re all worrying about strikes, delayed or cancelled flights and lost baggage, should we be focusing our concerns on Qantas’ ageing fleet?

According to the airline’s 2022 Sustainability Report to investors, the average age of Qantas’ fleet is about 14.7 years.

To put that in perspective, the average age of Air New Zealand’s fleet is 8.6 years and Singapore Airlines’ is 6.9 years, Guardian Australia reported.

Domestically, the average age of Jetstar’s fleet is 10.84 years, and Virgin Australia’s is 11.53.

Obviously, the pandemic has a role to play here. Dr Ian Douglas from the University of New South Wales cited the pause on manufacturing, ordering and delivery during the pandemic as some of the causes behind this. Pre-pandemic, the average age of a Qantas plane was just over 11 years. In 2006, it was a little over eight years.

Read: Ask the experts about your fear of flying

But it’s easy to wonder whether Qantas’ decision to keep on older planes is just a way to cut costs.

Not necessarily, says Dr Douglas.

“While it would have pushed up maintenance costs a bit, it’s not either unsafe or a poor decision,” he told the Guardian.

“Older aircraft are not a problem, per se. They just cost you more to keep in the air as there’s more maintenance work.

“Newer aircraft are more fuel-efficient. As the pressure becomes greater on environmental questions, I think that will put greater pressure on the retirement of older aircraft, depending on the availability of sustainable aviation fuel.”

According to Dr Douglas, planes don’t age in the same way we do; a plane’s age is also measured in cycles.

Read: Airplane mode is a vital part of flying safety

“Aircraft age two ways. One is in chronological years and the other is the number of cycles that they do – how often you fly them, pressurise the cabin and then depressurise it. And those cycles are often as important as the years.”

So while the pandemic may have aged Qantas’ aircraft chronologically, cyclically, Qantas’ grounded fleet stopped ageing.

Do you feel safe knowing you’re travelling on an older plane? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

Written by Ellie Baxter

Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.

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