With the strong demand for the capacity there would be an expectation that annual retirements would decrease but data from Jet Information Services suggest a modest rise in recent years.
The retirement of aircraft continues to be a major concern for aircraft investors. There has been much discussion in the last two years as to whether the average age of retirement has been reducing or has remained the same. Establishing retirement profiles can be difficult as there are many occasions when aircraft are simply placed into long term storage rather than physically parted out.
In the first three months of 2017 a total of 222 aircraft were physically retired – ie scrapped. This compares with 602 for the whole of 2016 and 602 in 2015. A large proportion – some 20 percent – of the 222 retirements can be traced to the B737-200s with 43 being retired in the first three months of this year compared to 35 in the whole of 2016. In 2016 25 – or some 10 percent of the fleet – B747-400s were retired with nine being recorded in the first three months underlining how vulnerable the type is. A total of 202 -400s are no longer in service. The B777 is also seeing an increase in retirements with 13 recorded in 2016 and six in the first three months of this years indicating a clear acceleration. With 16 B737NGs retired in 2016 and a further six through to March 2017, there have now been nearly a 100 B737NGs scrapped which ignores the number parked and due to be scrapped after seeing less than 20 years service. Nearly a quarter of all A318s have already been scrapped. The CRJ100/200 has seen more 240 scrapped while only 62 EMR135/E145s have suffered a similar fate.