How Many Stored Aircraft Will Return?
Alongside cargo operators, one of the very few beneficiaries of the current crisis is likely to be aircraft storage and disassembly centers.
Recognizing this, private equity firm Baird Capital has invested in aircraft recycling company eCube, which is based in Wales, UK and has another facility in Castellon, Spain.
The new shareholder will help eCube expand into the North American market and grow its existing sites in Europe to meet what is expected to be increased demand for aircraft storage and part-out services.
“Its position as a leader in its rapidly growing market makes it a great fit for our industrial portfolio,” noted James Benfield, Baird Capital partner and managing director.
Almost each day the crisis progresses brings news of more mothballed aircraft storage, with Qantas confirming in its recent annual results that all 12 of its A380s are now in long-term storage in the U.S. “for the foreseeable future”, and that all its 747s had been retired early.
In total, the Australian carrier has moved more than 100 aircraft into storage, while many of its international rivals have made similar cuts.
For now, many airlines appear content to pay parking fees as they wait to see how the crisis unfolds and how quickly – and reliably – passenger demand will return.
At some point, though, they may have to consider disassembly, especially for older widebodies.
Even mid-life to younger models may be in trouble, with Qantas’s A380s a case in point. The flag carrier has said they could return in three years’ time, but appears to have limited confidence in the prospect, and in its recent annual result the airline took an almost A$1.1 billion ($787 million) impairment charge on the aircraft.