Space limits mean air parks want scrap decisions now

TDA, a US part out specialist has just purchased the “youngest ever” A320 for scrap. Formerly a Virgin America/Alaska aircraft it dates to 2007 and is being broken up at Pinal Park in Arizona.

Meanwhile others who store aircraft in ideal conditions, mostly in a belt across the southern part of the United States, from Victorville in California to Florida, are facing a double influx. First there are the nearly 800 MAX aircraft spread about in storage waiting to be fixed or delivered. Now there are thousands of current aircraft swamping every storage park, and many other airports too.

The longer term storage parks are the ones most sought after. The airlines are extremely aware that nothing is going back to how it was quickly, which means relatively new aircraft are going to be stored for a lengthy period – maybe over a year, possibly longer. That means dry, full service storage.

That space is already running out, and the only way it can be managed is by airlines that have stored older aircraft for lengthy periods allowing them to be broken up. At least two major storage facilities have told airlines that they need to decide by the end of April what needs to be broken.

Older aircraft will be first on the list, anything more than 15 years old and single aisle is likely to be broken quickly, larger aircraft over 15 years and stored more than a year, they too are likely to be high ion the list of disposals.

Where does most of the scrap go? That too is a potential problem, because the biggest market is China, and the economy there looks like it will be in a minor recession – forecasts say for the first time since 1976.