At the start of July, the FAA did a little bit to encourage retirements of older aircraft by announcing that Stage Two business jets will no longer be able to operate in the US after December 2015.
The FAA says the ruling affects 599 aircraft, with 457 registered owners. The ages of the affected aircraft – which includes Falcon 20s, Learjet 23s, Learjet 24s, Learjet 25s, Gulfstream II and Gulfstream IIIs – range between 25 and 50 years. The US has 60% of the world’s fleet of 991 stage two aircraft; followed by Mexico with 182 non-compliant aircraft and South Africa and Venezuela next with 25 aircraft each.
While it is possible to add hushkits to some of the types, they can cost more than the aircraft is worth so the FAA expects many of the US registered aircraft to be scrapped.
In the past, you would have expected most the US aircraft to be exported. But the US is following around 50 countries that have already introduced restrictions on Stage Two business jets with others planning to implement them. In fact, some airports – including Farnborough – have now introduced restrictions for aircraft that are not Chapter IV certified. Some 300 flights that took place in 2012 are no longer possible at Farnborough.
It may not seem a lot but the 991 Stage Two aircraft around the world account for about 5% of the total aircraft fleet so it will make a difference to the total age of the fleet. Something worth making a (little) noise about.