Depression v2.0 may be rough all around, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more than a few economic winners amidst the widespread misery. You already knew about foreclosure specialists and pawn shops; now cast your jealous gaze toward the folks who operate commercial airplane graveyards, where flailing carriers are stashing the aging jets they can no longer afford to keep aloft. And judging by the stats, airlines are far more eager to cast off Airbus models than Boeings—perhaps because of Euro-planes higher maintenance costs:
While Boeing planes may account for 72 per cent of parked aircraft at the end of June 2009, only 11 per cent of those Boeing planes are models still in production (i.e. reasonably new), according to UBS. In contrast about 60 per cent of parked Airbus aircraft are in-production ones. Ouch.
We were initially a bit puzzled as to why airlines keep around out-of-production aircraft at all. But then it dawned on us—rather than sell the planes for scrap and take a medium-sized loss, carriers are gambling that they’ll someday be able to peddle their “junkers” to airlines in the developing world. Which, of course, can lead to some inevitable safety problems (PDF) down the line.