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Worldwide aircraft fleet age by region 2020-2030

China’s aircraft fleet is expected to reach an average age of 6.6 years in 2020, whereas the North American fleet an average age of 14 years. By 2030 this gap is expected to narrow though, with the average fleet ages predicted to be between 8.4 years and 14.1 years respectively.

Reasons for updating

The main reason for replacing aircraft is not because planes become less safe as they age, but because newer planes are cheaper to operate. For example, newer aircraft are generally more fuel efficient – an important factor given the volatility in the price of aircraft fuel and its current trend upwards. On average, aircraft are retired after around 25 years.

Fleet age trends

The general pattern is that more established markets and carriers have older fleets. For example, in the North American market, the traditional full-cost carriers have average fleet ages well above 10 years, whereas the average fleet age of the newer low-cost carriers are mostly below 10 years. However, established markets with a higher number of older aircraft provide more opportunity for aircraft to be replaced sooner. This explains the above forecast that the average fleet age in established markets will reduce by 2030, whereas markets with newer fleets will increase in average age.

Average age of the global operating aircraft fleet from 2020 to 2030, by region or country

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Release date

February 2020



Survey time period


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