The Surplus Parts Market As A Force Of Stability

In a recent article in AINonline "Surplus Parts Costs Forecast To Drop" it was suggested that prices will go down as more and more aircraft are parted out pushing "the current prices downwards making the already tense market even more competitive".

In a recent article on AINonline, Surplus Parts Costs Forecast To Drop, it was suggested that prices will go down as more and more aircraft are parted out, pushing "the current prices downwards making the already tense market even more competitive".

In principle, this is true to a certain extent.

Boeing and Airbus have both announced production rate increases on their current aircraft types. Taking into consideration that, as an aircraft type evolves and technology improvements are introduced, parts interchangeability is no longer maintained between the latest aircraft off the production line and an aircraft produced 2 or 4 years earlier. This is valid especially for avionics components, where software changes are the most common.

OEMs have to meet both the challenge of supporting the production rate increases and that of supplying parts to support the industry with the latest and earlier component configurations; this will impose production pressures and supply difficulties.

As the number of retired aircraft increases to almost 1000 aircraft per year in the next decade, so will the number of part-outs and the availability of surplus parts increase. However, these surplus components and parts will not support the latest and recent configurations of the active fleet, but will support the earlier and older configuration versions.

The availability of surplus parts for mature aircraft configurations of the popular fleets will tend to;

•    ease off the pressure for OEMs to support the earlier aircraft configurations; and
•    reduce prices in the aftermarket as a whole but remain competitive for avionics components and a variety of other parts.

The surplus market is detrimental to maintaining a stable components and parts supply for the mature aircraft.

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