The second hand airliner market is active. Some airlines prefer to sell their aircraft within 5 years of purchase, like Ryanair. On the other hand, some airlines prefer to use second hand planes.

  1. What criteria are considered to evaluate second hand airliners for purchase?

  2. How are the used airliners sold to another operator?

  • $\begingroup$ I agree with the current "too-broad" close votes as the question stands now. It would be helpful, IMO, to at least narrow the question to a specific airliner if the title question is to be answered. As it stands, the answer would be something like "Somewhere between roughly the value of a new car and $300 million." $\endgroup$ – reirab Oct 20 '15 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ I think the first questions has possibly been answered and the second questions is.....way way too broad. $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr Oct 20 '15 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ I vote to reopen. Although the 2nd question is still quite broad (possible rephrase would be: "used airliners") the question addresses one area with notoriously little information. $\endgroup$ – user23573 Oct 21 '15 at 5:47
  • $\begingroup$ The 2nd question is still a 2nd question and should probably be removed. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Oct 21 '15 at 15:34


The single most important factor in the value of an aircraft (generally speaking) is hours. This will almost single handedly define what the plane is worth. When a plane is built all the parts on it have a life time. This is traced through a series of logs for the plane. When a part is at or approaching its life time it must either be rebuilt or replaced. If you are looking at a plane that has high hours/cycles chances are parts on it will need replacing soon. This is costly to the new buyer and will often reflect in a lower sale price. Here in the US commercial aircraft require more frequent inspections than general aviation planes. These inspections are not cheap and a plane that needs inspection when compared to a plane that just came out of inspection will be reflected in the price as well.

There are of course other factors like wear and tear, corrosion (which can be very costly to fix) and interior condition but generally speaking when large planes change hands they are at least partially repainted with the new companies livery and the interiors are often redone.

For some airlines it may be advantageous to buy second hand planes if they are already flying that make/model. Lets say smallTimeAir flies almost exclusively 727-200's this means they have a nice store of parts for that plane and a crew well experienced in fixing them. It will be easier for them to add another 727-200 to the fleet than say an A320 for which they will need new mechanics and parts they don't have. This makes some used airframes desirable to some people.

  • $\begingroup$ And of course, the switch from Boeing to Airbus (in this case) would have a fair impact on the pilots as well, probably more so than a switch within Boeing's lineup (because of some of the differences in design philosophies between the two). Even so, it's a good point to consider. $\endgroup$ – user Oct 21 '15 at 8:49

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