Journal article Open Access

Retrofitting Cost Modeling in Aircraft Design

Della Vecchia, Pierluigi; Mandorino, Massimo; Cusati, Vincenzo; Nicolosi, Fabrizio

Aircraft retrofitting is a challenging task involving multiple scenarios and stakeholders. Providing a strategy to retrofit an existing platform needs detailed knowledge of multiple aspects, ranging from aircraft performance and emissions, development and conversion costs to the projected operating costs. This paper proposes a methodology to account for retrofitting costs at an industrial level, explaining the activities related to such a process. Costs are mainly derived from three contributions: development costs, conversion costs and equipment acquisition costs. Different retrofitting packages, such as engine conversion and onboard systems electrification, are applied in the retrofitting of an existing 90 PAX regional turbofan aircraft, highlighting the impact on both aircraft performance and industrial costs. Multiple variables and scenarios are considered regarding trade-offs and decision-making, including the number of aircraft to be retrofitted, the heritage of an aircraft and its utilization, the fuel price and the airport charges. The results show that a reduction of 15% in fuel demand and emissions are achievable, considering a fleet of 500 platforms, through a conspicuous investment of around EUR 20 million per aircraft (50% of the estimated price). Furthermore, depending on the scenarios driven by the regulatory authorities, governments or airlines, this paper provides a useful methodology to evaluate the feasibility of retrofitting activities.

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