As airliners are very expensive, most are leased out for times typically from 20 to 40 years. Very few go back into service after a long lease is up because evolving aerospace technology leaves older airliners unable to compete against newer machines that can be operated at a lower cost. Many end-of-service airliners end up in the Mojave Desert, at the Mojave Air and Space Port (also known as "The Boneyard"). From this, the term "Mojave" has come to refer to the temporary storage of aircraft, e.g. during decreased demand for air travel and between short-term leases. Another airliner retirement location is Marana, Arizona.
While almost every airliner will be reduced to scrap (the exceptions end up as museum pieces or flown by collector groups) they may pass through many owners before they are retired. A well-maintained airliner can operate safely for decades, depending on how often it is flown, its operating environment, and whether damage and wear and tear is properly repaired.
What may end an airliner's working life is a lack of spare parts, as the original manufacturer and third manufacturers may no longer provide or support them. Corrosion and metal fatigue are other issues that become more expensive to deal with as time goes on. Eventually, these factors and advances in aircraft technology lead to older airliners becoming too expensive or inefficient to operate.
To protect the environment, the Airbus company has set up a centre in France to decommission and recycle older aircraft. More than 200 airliners will finish active life each year, and will be dismantled and recycled under the newly established PAMELA Project.
Read more about this topic: Airliner
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