In the wake of the current global pandemic, airlines are sending aircraft into storage in record numbers as demand for travel drops due to quarantine orders and international travel bans. But at the start of the year, the desert was relatively empty. At the end of April, 59% of the commercial aircraft fleet worldwide had moved into storage. In prior crises, aircraft in storage topped out at about 11% of the fleet. This crisis certainly is different.
Airlines are already taking actions to decide which planes are likely to re-emerge from the desert, and while most will remain in storage and likely parted out and scrapped. This morning, American Airlines announced that it will permanently retire five aircraft types, the E190, 767-300ER, 757-200, A330-300, and CRJ-200. All of these aircraft are older models whose missions might be replaced with other aircraft that will be more suitable to a post-crisis environment. Earlier, Air Canada stated that it will accelerate the retirement of 79 aircraft in its fleet, including Boeing 767, Airbus A319s, and Embraer E190s.
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