Other aircraft-makers also question the logic behind age limits. They point out that some countries have an age limit on importation of aircraft, but no such limit on aircraft already in-country. If aircraft over a certain age are unsafe, then why is it OK for aircraft already in-country to be over that age?
There are also instances where countries have banned certain types of commercial aircraft for being too old, but those same types are still being flown in the country by the military. This is illogical because military aircraft—some of which were formally commercial aircraft—are often used to transport VIPs, including government politicians. If the aircraft were unsafe, wouldn't the authorities have ensured that no one, including politicians, can use them?
The fact that some developing countries are imposing age limits is creating a situation where some older aircraft are shifting from poorer to richer countries. Normally it is the other way around. Fokker 100s, for example, are finding their way to Australia—where the aircraft type is popular with mining charter operators because of its low-acquisition cost and short takeoff and landing capability.
Ramanujam says the fact that Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the U.S. FAA continue to allow Fokkers to be registered is testimony to the aircraft's safety and reliability.
He says countries that limit the importation of older aircraft could be adversely affecting the development of their nation's airline industry. “It will stunt growth of the regional market by raising the financial threshold to enter the market which, in turn, will slow down overall economic growth. Carriers will be forced to look for new aircraft with the attendant higher levels of debt and financing that entails. With the Asian regional market in its infancy, returns in the first instance will not be solid enough to sustain that level of investment.”
Ramanujam adds: “We believe that pre-owned aircraft have an important role to play in growing the regional market to maturity in Asia. Sustainable growth in the regional market over the coming years will be difficult to achieve without pre-owned aircraft.” He also mentions that “many of the pioneers of the regional business in now-mature markets in Europe and the U.S. started off with pre-owned aircraft.”