Aircraft retirement is typically a financial decision driven by a desire not to invest in maintenance due to newer or existing technology aircraft being available to substitute.
The graphic below explores the retirements since 2001 and shows what these are as a % of the active fleet. We can see that retirements, as a % of the active fleet, have hovered between 1.8% and 3.4%. The average was ~2.5%.
There have been ~12,585 aircraft retirements since 2001. Retirements peaked in 2012 with ~890 aircraft retiring. On average, there have been ~620 aircraft retirements per year over the last decade.
So far, ~465 aircraft have been officially retired in 2020. There’s a lag in the data, and we expect that by the end of 2020, more aircraft will retire, including some aircraft that are currently parked that ultimately won’t return to flying.
Also, many aircraft retired so far in 2020 were already planned to retire before COVID hit.
However, this doesn’t mean they will be parted-out straightaway. In recent years, approximately 400-500 aircraft have been parted-out per year. 2020 part-outs might be lower given the delay/work stoppage due to COVID and concern over prices to pay for assets at a time when buyers don’t want to overpay, and sellers don’t want to sell too cheaply.
Date: March 29 , 2022
Air Transport Aircraft Retirements Update
The air transport aircraft retirement tsunami that was expected has, so far, failed to materialize. 2021 saw the lowest official retirements since 2007, with only ~429 aircraft being recognized as being officially ret...
Date: November 23 , 2021
Tracking the Air Transport Utilization Recovery
April 2020 marked the low point in air transport fleet utilization. Since then, aircraft flying hours have been steadily increasing. However, the speed of the recovery has varied by size of aircraft (e.g., narrowbod...
Date: March 12 , 2021
Reviewing 2020 Aircraft Retirements
So, how many air transport aircraft retired in 2020? Thousands? Nope. 2020 did not yield the thousands of retirements that had been feared. Though the final tally will be subject to revision in the coming months, so f...