$BA A quick google search suggests a Boeing 747 lifespan last about 27 years before it should be retired. I assume that is with regular maintenance checks and upkeep according to FAA regulations. In a developing country and one plagued with a history of crashes, I would find it hard to believe that regular maintenance was done to this aircraft that meets these standards. It was only a matter of time before something like this would happen to a plane this old and in this part of the world. Like with any machine, parts need to be replaced or up-kept. Eventually the cost upkeep outweighs the worth of the said machine. What do we do then? Buy a new one because it is a better investment (economics, safety, etc). Unfortunately for these passengers the airline decided to keep going with this plane (Dumb idea of course). Now instead of making an investment in a new plane and avoiding a crash, they will now most likely have pay the cost of multiple new planes out in reparations. My opinion.