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Posted 29/08/2023 in Buying Guides

Understanding Aircraft Depreciation: A Buyer's Guide

Understanding Aircraft Depreciation: A Buyer's Guide

Aircraft depreciation is a vital but often overlooked factor when considering purchasing an aeroplane. Whether you're looking to buy your first aircraft or you're a seasoned owner, understanding how an aircraft depreciates over time is essential for making an informed decision. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the basics of aircraft depreciation, the factors that influence it, and how to make the most out of your investment.

What is Aircraft Depreciation?

Depreciation refers to the decline in the value of an asset over time due to wear and tear, obsolescence, or market conditions. For aircraft, depreciation doesn't just impact your balance sheet; it also has tax implications and influences your asset's resale value.

Types of Depreciation

Straight-Line Depreciation

In this method, the cost of the aircraft is divided over its useful life, typically a period of 20 years for most planes.

Accelerated Depreciation

Here, a higher depreciation expense is claimed during the early years of the aircraft's useful life.

Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS)

This is a tax depreciation system in the United States, allowing the depreciation to be deducted over a period of five to seven years.

Factors Affecting Depreciation


Older aircraft generally depreciate at a slower rate than newer models.

Market Conditions

Supply and demand can significantly impact an aircraft's value.

Maintenance & Upgrades

Proper maintenance and upgrades can mitigate the rate of depreciation.

Depreciation and Taxes

Understanding how to navigate the tax implications of depreciation can result in substantial savings. Consult with tax professionals and accountants who specialise in aviation to make the most of your investment.

How to Minimise Depreciation

Purchase Wisely

Select an aircraft that has a reputation for holding its value over time.

Regular Maintenance

Timely and quality maintenance can prolong the aircraft's useful life and slow down depreciation.

Upgrade & Update

Technological upgrades can make your aircraft more appealing in the resale market.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the types of aircraft depreciation?

The common types are Straight-Line Depreciation, Accelerated Depreciation, and Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS).

How does age affect aircraft depreciation?

Older aircraft generally depreciate at a slower rate compared to newer models.

Can proper maintenance help in reducing depreciation?

Yes, quality and timely maintenance can mitigate the rate of depreciation and extend the aircraft's useful life.


Aircraft depreciation is a complex but crucial aspect of aircraft ownership. By understanding the basics, types, and contributing factors, you can make informed choices that will protect your investment over time