Chinese airlines are famous for keeping young fleets, with roughly one-third of aircraft operating out of the country less than five years old.
Sustained growth of Chinese carriers plus their willingness to refresh aircraft has resulted in a stream of mid-life and older aircraft available for placement or part-out.
That stream will flow faster as time passes, and some parties are seeking to capitalize on this by offering end-of-life services inside China.
In June, for example, Dutch parts provider APOC Aviation acquired three Airbus A320s from China Aircraft Leasing (CALC) to be dismantled at a joint-venture recycling facility in Harbin—FL ARI Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering.
The aircraft were originally from the leasing unit of China Southern, which operated 849 aircraft as of May, a month in which the airline group added one A320neo, two A321neos, one Boeing 777-300ER and one 787-9.
The group also terminated the lease of one Embraer E190 and six A320s.
With China’s other big carriers pursuing similar growth and replacement strategies, APOC evidently sees promise for further part-out opportunities.
This week it signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese officials to open stock hubs in mainland China as well as warehouse and AOG facilities in Hong Kong.
“This was APOC’s first significant deal in China,” said APOC founder and managing director Max Wooldrik. “The acquisition of these three A320 airframes heralds our intention to expand our business in Asia, and using local tear-down specialists maximizes cost-efficiency from the outset.”
APOC expects to acquire another A320 in China “soon,” while part-out of the three purchased A320s should finish this summer.