Germanwings crash cannot be explained by plane's age: experts

A screen grab taken from an AFP TV video on March 24, 2015 shows part of the vertical stabilizer of the Germanwings Airbus A320 at the crash site in the French Alps above the southeastern town of Seyne. AFP Photo

The air disaster in the French Alps cannot be explained by the age of the Germanwings Airbus A320, which at 24-years-old should still have been in excellent condition, experts said Tuesday.        

Modern civilian aircraft are reaching the end of their career at a quarter-century, but should remain in perfect working order due to strict and regular maintenance checks.
The Airbus A320 that mysteriously crashed on Tuesday, killing 150 people, first entered service in 1991, according to Germanwings head Thomas Winkelmann.        

That made it one of the oldest A320s in operation, since the first rolled off production lines in 1988.        
But modern aircraft "can fly for 40 years without a single problem as long as they are well maintained," said Xavier Tytelman, an expert on aviation security who works at the France-based Centre for the Treatment of Fear of Flying.        

"Twenty-five years old is not old for an aircraft."       

Some companies outside the European Union push their planes right up to the four-decade limit, and beyond.
IranAir is still using Boeing 747-200 aircraft, according to its website, which were bought by the Shah in the 1970s, in spite of an embargo on parts from the United States after the 1979 revolution.        

The Lockheed Tristar, last built in 1984, is still used by charter companies in Asia.        

And it's not only the general public riding in ageing planes -- the Air Force One used by the US president is actually a Boeing 747 that is a quarter-century old.                        

Connoisseurs have kept much older aircraft in service, such as the antique Douglas DC-3 Dakotas, built in the 1930s and 1940s, which still operate...

Continue reading on: