Satair Group’s experience in recent years shows that aircraft part-outs have increased and account for some 80 percent of the surplus parts in the aftermarket. At the same time, demand for used service parts has increased, especially from legacy fleets because suppliers no longer support the programmes.
On the other hand, companies that provide MRO services now buy and offer used parts to lower service costs to operators. More players see the used parts aftermarket as an increasingly compelling segment and Satair Group will play a strong part in this business.
Anne Willmer, Head of Used Equipment and Component Management in Satair Group, Hamburg led a small project team to study new ways to meet demands for used spares.
She explained: “Airbus’ primary aim is to keep its aircraft flying, but we also want to offer an end-to-end life cycle solution for our customers to maximise residual value when their aircraft are no longer marketable. A business case can then be made for parting out aircraft to provide used spares.”
“The used spares market for the Airbus airframe fleet (minus engines) is some US$1 billion a year, as part of a total used parts market spend of US$3 billion and growing. So while this huge market is attractive, we want to influence the standards with total parts traceability, transparency and reliability, and, working with our approved repair stations, to meet the highest OEM engineering, airworthiness and safety requirements.”
“Satair Group has access to Airbus documentation where we can see what part was installed originally on the aircraft and its history and we have the information and engineering back-up to provide a total quality service,” Anne said.
Used parts can also be acquired, selectively, from the surplus market. All parts are then technically assessed, released to serviceable condition and offered as an alternative to new parts.
In the past two years, five Airbus A340-300s have been parted out at Satair Group’s partner facility TARMAC Aerosave in Tarbes, France. This year the plan is to dismantle another long-range aircraft and four single-aisle A320 family aircraft.
“The A340 was attractive because spares could be used across both the A340 and A330 fleets. Now we are tackling the A320 family market because the in-service fleet is vast and demand is strong,” added Anne.
The dismantling process at Tarbes is environmentally friendly and radically different from traditional aircraft graveyards. Gone are the days of huge cutting machines slicing aircraft to pieces; instead parts are dismantled in a gentler way in a form of reverse engineering. The original aim was to recycle between 80-95 percent of the aircraft; it is already at 90 percent.
Satair Group sells the competitively priced used parts alongside new parts on the Airbus portal and the sales team is now well versed in the different dynamics of the used parts market.