Re-engining airplanes often makes sense. We’ve seen the success of the A320neo and initial success of the 737 MAX in the commercial world, and a range of upgrades over the years in the business aviation world. The difference tends to be who makes the improvements – as in the airline world it is typically the OEM launching a new model, rather than retrofitting existing airframes. While there have been a few programs with modest success, such as the Cammacorp re-engining of DC-8 Super 60 series aircraft and a couple of Boeing 727 re-engining programs to meet noise requirements, by and large commercial aircraft re-engining is factory sponsored as a new model.
That contrasts with the business aircraft world, in which smaller engineering and modification shops introduce upgrades that are not factory sponsored and often bring older aircraft performance to levels at or better than the new models they compete with. Engine upgrades can improve speed and decrease time to climb, resulting in lower operating costs as well as improving aircraft utilization.
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