The ex-Cyprus airliners flown to St Athan at the weekend ‘could be scrapped’ says aviation expertPosted: January 14, 2015
By Chris Kelsey,
The four former Cyprus Airways airliners that have been flown to St Athan could be scrapped, according to an aviation expert.
Martin Evans said the economic value of the 10-year-old planes’ parts could be greater than that of the aircraft themselves.
The Airbus A320s are thought to be owned by a leasing company, CIT Aerospace, which is based in Dublin.
They are understood to have been brought to St Athan by Cardiff Aviation, an aircraft maintenance company which is based at the airfield.
Cardiff Aviation was founded in 2012 by Mario Fulgoni and Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson.
Mr Evans said: “These aircraft are 10 years old. CIT doesn’t tend to place older aircraft on lease again, it tends to dispose of them.
“Airliners can fly for up to 25 years, but there have been instances of very young aircraft being scrapped.”
Mr Evans, who is a visiting fellow at the University of South Wales, added: “There are two difficulties with 10-year-old aircraft. There has been a massive expansion in the sales of newer aircraft driven by rises in fuel prices.
“That’s changing with the fuel prices dropping but there’s a backlog of new aircraft orders for very fuel efficient aircraft. New aircraft tend to be leased rather than bought because they are very expensive assets.
“The airlines have had a difficult time in the last 10 years. They can’t buy 10-year-old aircraft because they are less fuel efficient than new ones and the airlines have to finance them themselves because the leasing companies won’t lease them out.
“The leasing companies are satisfying the demand of the market for new aircraft and they often don’t want to lease older aircraft.”
He added that if the aircraft were going to be leased out again they might not have been flown to St Athan, where the climate is not ideal for keeping aircraft parked on the runways for long.
“Why bring them here when there are plenty of other places in the world where they can stand in the warm and dry?” he said.
ECube Solutions, which is based in Hanger 208 at St Athan, carries out aircraft dissassembly and recovery of parts – parting out as it is described in the industry – at the airfield.
In December it took delivery of a former Southern Air Boeing 747 which it is breaking up in collaboration with Chevron Technical Services.
Mr Evans added: “You don’t think of people scrapping such young airliners but there are lots of parts you can sell, so their economic value after being parted out [could be] much greater.
“The leasing company will have to think, can I make more money by leaving them sitting around until someone buys them or by selling the parts?”
According to the South Wales Aviation Group, the former Cyprus Airways jets arrived at St Athan from Larnaka on Sunday afternoon, with the first one landing at 1.14pm and the last arriving at 2.35pm.
Cyprus Airways ceased operations last Friday after a ruling by the European Commission that it should pay back £51m it had received in illegal state aid.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Cyprus Airways had no chance of becoming viable without continued state subsidies, which meant money paid out in 2012 and 2013 as part of a restructuring package would have to be recovered.
The restructuring plan was “based on unrealistic assumptions” the EU Commission said. Under EU rules a company can only receive state assistance once every 10 years and the airline had already been bailed out in 2007.
Cyprus Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said: “The company has ceased being a viable entity… and cannot continue to operate.” He said the Cyprus Government would fully cover the cost of alternative flights for passengers who had already booked with the airline.
Cyprus Airways was 93%t owned by the state and employed 550 people. Before the collapse it had a 10% share of flights to the island, down from 30% two years ago.
Sourced by Wales Online