Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Daniel K. Adjekum


The topic of aircraft safety is pervasive in many domains of the airline industry and it influences all types of air transportation operations. Aircraft acquisition and fleet planning are key functions in a commercial airline to ensure the achievement of the airline’s operational goals such as matching capacity with demand. With fluctuations in passenger demand, it is vital to strategically plan an airline’s fleet to best accommodate these changes and to safely do so. Existent literature suggests that aircraft safety is factored into passenger decision to choose an airline which then impacts the economics of an airline. The purpose of this study is to explore the impact of safety on fleet acquisition and management processes in commercial airlines in the U.S. The findings suggest that safety plays a major role in the aircraft acquisition and fleet management activities in commercial airlines and generates contributory variables that influence and are influenced by safety events in relation to an aircraft type. The results from this study serves as a conceptual framework for commercial airlines to better gauge the crucial elements that drive fleet planning decisions and to effectively execute strategic fleet management decisions.