Aftermarket Shortages Hit Aircraft Redeliveries


With labor shortages and supply chain kinks hitting both parts production and maintenance capacity, many airlines risk being caught out on their end-of-lease checks.

Not only are aircraft and engine checks and repairs taking longer to book and accomplish, but some airlines are also leaving less time than usual to perform the required functions. 

“The recent shortage of available aircraft has meant that airlines want to operate these aircraft in revenue service right up to the point of return, which typically results in an overrun on the redelivery date,” says Felipe Campos, chief technical officer of Dublin-based lessor Avolon.

“Supply chain issues are also catching returning airlines off guard when components need to be replaced due to failure to meet the return conditions,” adds Campos, who will soon become Avolon’s chief operating officer.

Campos highlights shortages of parts such as electronic chips and wiring, while another lessor notes that repair shops are also struggling: “Repair shop capacity has also been an issue with certain suppliers having reduced workforce during the pandemic which created bottlenecks in the system.”

Oisin Murray, head of new aircraft programs at CDB Aviation, another big lessor, agrees that airlines need to plan further ahead. “Better awareness among the airline personnel of the contractual return conditions and better planning around redelivery maintenance would benefit all parties during the lease return process,” he says.

However, both Murray and Campos acknowledge that airlines have generally improved their lease return processes, in part due to their growing familiarity with leased aircraft and, in some cases, due to the formation of dedicated end-of-lease teams.

For a full insight into the challenges facing lessors’ technical departments, see the next issue of Inside MRO.

Alex Derber

Alex Derber, a UK-based aviation journalist, is editor of the Engine Yearbook and a contributor to Aviation Week and Inside MRO.