A key topic for discussion over the past year has been aircraft retirements. Would COVID-19 cause thousands of aircraft to retire this year, causing the market to be flooded with surplus parts and engines? So far, we’ve not seen the wave of retirements that were predicted.
The latest data indicates that ~612 air transport aircraft have been retired up to the start of December 2020. That’s made up of 306 narrowbodies, 243 widebodies, 21 turboprops, and 41 RJs.
In 2019, ~ 666 aircraft retired. It’s likely that 2020 will end up with more retirements than last year once the final count is in, but not yet the level that was feared. Why not thousands? Well, airlines and lessors have been watching the market closely, waiting to see if traffic recovers, how quickly the vaccine rollout happens, and keeping aircraft parked – delaying the decision to permanently remove the aircraft from the fleet (or bring them back into revenue service).
~12,670 aircraft were retired since 2000 at an average of 603 per year. Retirements peaked in 2012 at 883 aircraft. Narrowbodies comprise ~52% of retired aircraft and widebodies ~22%.
It’s still likely that many of the aircraft currently parked won’t return to service. But, they aren’t being cannibalized just yet.
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...