MRO Memo: First Teardowns Launch Boeing 787 Used Parts Market

The Irish company believes that these are the first 787s to go for part-out.

Credit: Sean Broderick / AWST

With the Boeing 787 still considered a “new-generation” widebody, it is somewhat surprising to see the first aircraft stripped for parts.

Yet that is the fate of two 10-year-old 787-8s that will be disassembled this quarter by parts company EirTrade Aviation.

The Irish company believes these are the first 787s to go for part-out, and while the relative youth of the aircraft might raise eyebrows, there are good reasons for the move.

First, the -8 is a less popular 787 model, with 378 in service this year versus 630 787-9s, according to Aviation Week Network’s Commercial Aviation Fleet & MRO Forecast 2023

More importantly, though, 787 heavy checks are expected to ramp up over the next few years, which will create demand for parts.

“As no 787s have been retired from commercial service to date, there is almost no USM [used serviceable material] market for this platform at the moment,” noted Ken Fitzgibbon, CEO of EirTrade. 

“We are entering into a specialist area and hope to become a market leader in the provision of USM for the platform, which will enable the reduction of the cost of maintenance events for B787 aircraft owners,” adds Fitzgibbon.

Aviation Week forecasts 32 D checks for the global 787 fleet this year, rising to 109 in 2025.

EirTrade said full disassembly will take about three months, while parts will start to become available from the first quarter of this year.

However, the work is not occurring at the EirTrade facility in Knock, Ireland, but rather at Prestwick airport in Scotland.

“There will, of course be challenges along the way and, were the disassembly taking place at our own facility in Knock, it would have afforded us a greater degree of flexibility in terms of manpower, tooling and logistics,” commented Steven Trowell, hangar manager for EirTrade. “However, any potential disruption to the schedule will be kept to a bare minimum and we are privileged to be given the opportunity of disassembling the first 787-8s.”

Alex Derber

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