The authors present an economic model and apply it to a comparison of painted and bare polished commercial aircraft over a twenty year life. Inputs into the economic model are a cross section of actual figures obtained from major U. S. airlines. A sensitivity analysis of critical variables is presented, showing that differences in fuel costs, weight savings, and fuel saving factors, are major influences on financial results. A 200 aircraft airline is studied to show the potential savings for a major carrier. The result of this study shows that operating a polished aluminum aircraft is cost effective over the aircraft's lifetime. The model developed can be used for comparative purposes by airlines considering the polished look.