InsightIQ intelligence reveals an upward aircraft retirement trend over the last decade but, although Covid-19 escalated retirement of some aircraft types, we have not witnessed a dramatic rise since 2020’s outbreak. Stored aircraft levels have reached record levels however and are likely to trigger future exits.
Using Fleets, Values and Trends data we can see the varying effect Covid-19 has had on demand for different aircraft classes. Hardest hit by the decline in long-haul travel, widebodies like the 747-400 and A380 have faced early retirements, British Airways losing 16 of the former in 2020, another seven so far this year and Air France retiring its entire A380 fleet.
The narrowbody sector has not escaped the escalation trend: Delta has exited several models including aged A320ceo and 757 family aircraft. We expect such narrowbodies to provide feedstocks for the secondary P2F conversion market; freighter demand has thrived during the pandemic and we foresee this speeding up. InsightIQ has recorded numerous regional jet retirements recently including BAE 146s, CRJ 100/200s and ERJ family aircraft. Plus, we anticipate more 50-seater jets will exit in the near future, as well as turboprops such as the DHC 400 and ATR 42 types.
Although retirements have not vastly soared since 2020, the number of stored aircraft has been unprecedented, especially for widebodies. IBA envisages between 30% and 40% of narrowbodies and around 40% of widebodies currently stored, age 20+ by 2025 will retire in the next five years. Comparing intelligence relating to the global financial crisis in 2008/09 indicates we should expect a four-to five-year time lag between the event and extensive aircraft retirements.
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