The benefits to an airline’s bottom line of buying used serviceable material are well-documented in the aviation trade press, but it seems there is wider public appetite for part-out opportunities.
Dutch company APOC Aviation has just acquired two Boeing 737-700 airframes with money raised from crowdfunding, having announced in April that the campaign had raised $2.6 million.
That’s more than Oculus crowdfunded for its well-publicized virtual reality gaming headset, with that company now owned by Facebook.
APOC will tear down the 737s, previously owned by Infinity Transportation and operated by PrivateAir as BBJs, at two locations in Germany before shipping the parts back to its warehouse in at Amsterdam Schiphol airport.
“This is the first time that APOC has chosen to part-out 737-700s as our primary expertise has rested with the Airbus A320 family to date,” said Jasper van den Boogaard, director of acquisition andzz trading at APOC Aviation.
“These airframes will enable us to broaden our inventory and cover 50% of the global in-service fleet,” he added.
Perhaps more unusual than APOC’s fundraising strategy was the fact that it was the company’s seventh crowdfunding campaign.
In the first, the company took 11 days to raise $900,000, but by the sixth it reached $1 million in just eight minutes, while the latest took 90 minutes to hit $2.6 million.
“The first time we experimented with the method…we paid it back early so that generated ‘trust’ within the crowd,” APOC’s managing director, Max Wooldrick.
Whether APOC’s success is copied by others remains to be seen, but crowdfunding is no magic bullet. Little has been heard from UK start-up Odyssey Airlines since 2016 when it announced plans to fund a 2018 launch via crowdfunding, while another crowdfunding-focused airline, People over Profit, which plans to connect the UK and India, also seems no nearer launch.
A post on PoP’s website reads: “Please help me finish last £4 million funding.”