Olivier Bonnassies with Flight International, did a wonderful write-up on newer airliners finding their way into the scrap heap.
Recently an 11 year old Boeing 737-600, a two year old Boeing 737-800 and an Airbus A318 were sent to the scrap pile. It is nothing new when an old and worn airliner makes its way to the scrap pile, but these were both newer, 737 Next Generation aircraft. It seems in this economy, some airplanes are worth more parted out than they are flying.
“We were surprised by the amount of bidders, mainly tear-down companies,” says International Bureau of Aviation’s commercial director, who handled the sale of the 737-600 commercial. The Boeing 737-600 is a pretty rare aircraft with only 68 currently in service. This means its parts are going to be worth more than a widely used aircraft like the Boeing 737-700.
The Airbus A318 is in a similar situation. There are only 72 A318’s in operation. Even though there are many common parts between the Boeing 737 Next Generation and Airbus A320 family, there aren’t many that have already been scrapped off for parts and with the A318 and 737-600 being the smallest in the family, they are some of the least economical per seat to fly.
Another problem is airlines are having harder times getting financing on used aircraft. Airlines don’t have the cash to buy new aircraft nor the financial ability to lease older ones. With many airlines choosing to keep airplanes longer, it makes a parted out aircraft worth more. It is believed that as many as 1,800 parts will be re-used out of the Boeing 737-600 including the interior cabin.
To learn more, check out Bonnassies’ full write up at Flight International.