When Hawker Siddeley’s Hatfield designers finalised their plans for a high-wing, quad-jet regional airliner in the early 1970s, few could have thought that examples of the type would see out their days as aerial firefighters, tackling blazes in the United States, Canada and Australia. Aidan Nolan reports.
Much like you or I consider when is best to replace the fridge or the washing machine, airlines must make decisions with their fleets of Airbuses, Boeings and Embraers. While carriers previously operated aircraft for as long as 20-25 years, the average airliner now does well to reach a little over half that. Even before reaching their ‘teenage’ years, some jets are worth more in spares than as airworthy aeroplanes.