‘Youngest’ A320 Bought For Parts

U.S. part-out specialist TDA has claimed the “youngest ever” Airbus A320 acquired for disassembly.

The 2007-vintage aircraft previously operated for Alaska Airlines and will be disassembled at the Pinal Park facility in Arizona.

It is only slightly younger than a 12-year-old A320 that TDA acquired for teardown in 2016, although such records are likely to be broken with increasing frequency over the coming year as some airlines fail and others shrink their fleets to meet what is widely expected to be reduced post-crisis demand.

This should mean a glut of used serviceable material for the aftermarket, which should in turn lower spare and replacement parts expenses for airlines—a crumb of comfort in these straitened times.

Narrowbody aircraft such as that recently acquired by TDA were the core of the value proposition for mid-life aircraft investors in the run-up to the crisis, so many eyes will be focused on their valuations through and after the crisis.

A320s and Boeing 737NGs have underpinned the growth of aviation in the past 20 years, and demand will remain for these reliable aircraft for years to come, although questions are now being asked about whether the passenger market could fundamentally change to the benefit of different aircraft gauges.

Referencing a boom in demand for 50-seat jets following 9/11, Credit Suisse analyst Robert Spingarn recently asked Embraer management if they expected “some kind of mix shift in demand away from the Boeing and Airbus narrowbodies and perhaps the A220 toward the E-Jet for the next few years to accommodate the lower demand?”

Embraer said it was still analyzing the possible repercussions of the crisis, but given its stodgy sales of recent years, such a development would prove mightily welcome—not just for it but also for Boeing’s planned acquisition.