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The belly landing of LOT Flight 16 is known by many:

My impression is that a lot of aluminum was ground off by the runway. Maybe too much?

Question: What is the status of that aircraft today? Was it economically and safely repairable? Is it still flying?

And any general comments about the "repair or retire" decision after a costly breakdown or accident are welcome.

(I am impressed by the airmanship on that flight)

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  • $\begingroup$ You asked about repairs: the famous Gimli glider suffered a nosewheel collapse on landing and scraped its nose. This was repairable and the aircraft re-entered normal service. $\endgroup$ – Andy Jun 22 '16 at 15:11
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From Wikipedia:

The damage to the plane was so extensive that the airline chose not to make repairs. The aircraft was scrapped in November 2013.

I can't find information on the figures, but for Qantas Flight 32 the figure to repair it was ~$145 million.

Nowadays you can buy a used 777 for 2% of its list price. A fraction of the $145m figure above to fix an A380.

New 777 is 277.3 million, used is 7.7 million.

I hope that helps.

So cost of repair, age of aircraft, cost of adding a used plane to the fleet instead, etc.

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  • $\begingroup$ Heh. That's what I get for bad speed reading. Good thing I'm not a lawyer reading contracts. Though if people have specific knowledge about that kind of decision process.. I'm open. $\endgroup$ – Paulb Jun 21 '16 at 19:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Paulb the short version of the decision tree boils down to one question: "Will the airplane make back the cost of repairs over its remaining service life?" - If the answer is yes it gets repaired, if it's no it gets scrapped (and the airline either gets some money for it or a bunch of serviceable parts to use maintaining that model in their fleet). Same economics as anything really: If you wreck a nice car and the repairs are \$5,000 you'd fix it, but if the repairs are \$50,000 buying a used replacement could be the better/cheaper option. $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Jun 21 '16 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ @voretaq7, there are also considerations of 'prestige'. QF1 747 received very substantial damage after a runway overrun, but was repaired almost at a cost of a new aircraft just to keep records clean and maintain that 'no QANTAS jet was ever lost'. $\endgroup$ – Zeus Jun 22 '16 at 5:34
  • $\begingroup$ What's to add is, that new composite materials (which are widely used in newer models) are much more difficult to check e.g. for cracks than with aluminium. You would probably be forced to exchange many parts that look okey but where you just can't be certain that they don't have internal defects. $\endgroup$ – dani Jul 1 '16 at 10:49

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