Welcome to another post in our (b)logbook! Often times we are getting messages from you guys that you saw that an aircraft is being retired or dismantled somewhere on this planet – which is fantastic. Today we would like to write about why it is not always that easy to get parts of the fuselage from a specific aircraft.
Besides not agreeing terms (yes, we are buying the aircraft skin of course), these are the top 3 obstacles we are facing:
Obstacle 1- Last in line
When an aircraft is being retired and dismantled, the end-of-life-service company obviously starts with removing those parts that they can sell for a good price. In most of the cases we know, the engines are worth more than the rest of the entire plane. But also the landing gear, avionics and the instruments can be monetized quite easily.
Once everything has been sold or brought to the warehouse and all of the interiors have been removed, the aircraft gets torn down for good. In theory that is. Often times it is cheaper to just leave the aircraft where it is and pay rent for its space than tearing it down for good.
So, as you can tell, it is all about timing as well. Cutting parts of the airframe mostly only happens just before it hits the claw.
Obstacle 2 – Ownership
Remember those days where airlines were actually the owners of the aircrafts they were flying with? Nowadays’ setup is a bit more complex in many cases. The aircraft is often times owned by a bank or anonymous investment fund in a tax haven somewhere – and have you every tried getting a contact person at a bank on Bermuda or in Panama? Rest assure, it is not that easy… 😉
So, you have the owner, often times an additional leasing company in between and then the airline as the licensee. Oh, and then there is the airport where it is parked and the dismantling company that tears the aircraft down, potentially with sub contractors. Sometimes they buy the aircraft, just before selling the remains to their local scrap dealer, but that is not always the case. What do you reckon, who do you talk to and when?
Obstacle 3 – Aircraft Heaven
Some airlines must think that people (=their passengers) believe that aircrafts just die a sudden death and then go up to aircraft heaven. That is the only explanation that we do have where this third obstacle comes from.
There are quite a few airlines out there that are fine with selling as much as they can from their former aircrafts (when they own them or got a say in it at least) but they do not want to expose the registration or their brand to public. So, we could potentially buy fuselage parts but could not mention that this was bought from a former British Airways for example, or even mention the MSN or registration.
That is not how things work at Aviationtag, since we want our fans to actually deep-dive into the history of that specific aircraft and find out all the exciting airports and places it has visited throughout its lifecycle. So, we often times turn down offers of that kind.
The airlines are of course concerned about their public image and don’t want people to see that a plane with their logo on is being scrapped. But it is just a fact of life that no one can deny – aircrafts are being torn down at a certain point and we are actually preserving aviation history here. On top of that we are upcycling the aircraft skin and transforming it into something that can still be used and are helping protect the environment that way.
Despite those (and some other) obstacles we fortunately still succeed in getting aircraft skin often enough to be able to manufacture our Aviationtags for you.
Tell us – were you aware of those obstacles?