ADA Teardown.jpg

Small Narrowbodies Face Limited Future

The relatively young age of aircraft such as the A319 is no barrier to becoming teardown candidates.

Dutch part-out specialist Touchdown Aviation (TDA) has acquired what it describes as two of the “youngest A319s [to undergo] teardown.”

The ex-Germania aircraft were built in 2008, which means they barely qualify as mid-life aircraft, let alone the mature units that usually are candidates for teardown.

TDA says that buying such young aircraft is “entirely in line” with its strategy to offer high-quality parts.

The youth of the two aircraft demonstrates how valuable the used serviceable material market has become during a time of spare parts shortages from engine OEMs and expensive new parts.

Consultancy ICF has estimated that the USM market will grow from about $4.5 billion in 2016 to almost $8 billion in 2026.

However, the purchases are also a sign of the rapidly diminishing popularity of smaller-gauge narrowbodies such as the Airbus A319 and Boeing 737-700, especially among low-cost carriers.

Of the thousands of A320neo-family orders, for example, just a few dozen are for the A319neo.

Many established players are eyeing the A321neo for future fleet requirements, and even start-ups are seeking to take their initial steps with larger aircraft, the latest example being Vietravel Airlines, a Vietnamese airline that has mooted plans to order the A321neo even before it begins commercial operations.

And with the increasing success of the A220, smaller 737s and A320 are losing potential customers from the opposite direction as well.

Despite their perceived operational deficiencies, smaller narrowbodies still offer significant commonality with their larger peers, making them attractive part-out candidates.

TDA has previously acquired a 13-year-old A319 while rival part-out company Aerfin bought a 10-year-old model in 2017.

Some of the prized USM from smaller narrowbodies are life-limited parts from their CFM56-5A and -7B engines and, to a lesser extent, the IAE V2500.

TDA will tear down its latest acquisition at the eCube facility in Wales, UK.

TAGS: Airframes
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