Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Boeing 747-400...Storage level reaches 9.3% in November

The latest data extracted from 7SEAS AVIATION's 7AIR Database shows that 747-400 storage levels reached 9.3% on November 1st, our last reporting date. These figures are updated to the 1st of each month, and are publicly made available through this blog in the attached spreadsheet, with January and July 1st snapshots of the data as standard, as well as the most recent data update.

Deliveries of the 747-400 began in earnest in 1989, with some 500 delivered by Jan 1st 2000. Storage had been non existent throughout the 90s. In the aftermath of 9/11, storage started to creep up gradually to a peak of 4.1% of the fleet (about 20-25 aircraft) during 2004. The aircraft was not affected in the same way as narrow bodies, which were retired in large numbers during this period. Equally, being a modern in production aircraft, it was DC-10s and L-1011s that instead saw more significantly increased storage rates post 9/11.

747-400 storage then stabilized at around an average of 2.5% over the years 2005-2008, and many of these were aircraft in the process of being converted from passenger aircraft to freighters.

The beginning of 2009 saw a different story however. With both passenger and cargo markets severely impacted by global recession, 747-400 storage has this year trajected ever upwards from 2.8% at the beginning of the year, to the current 9.4%, which equates to 64 units parked. This probably now reflects a new peak. Since Nov 1st, two freighters (Martinair & EVA Airways examples) have returned to service, and it is likely that the freighters will now trickle back to service, in line with a modest recovery now under way.

On the passenger aircraft side, most of those aircraft parked are now likely to stay parked, and be either freight converted or permanently retired. Only one retirement has been recorded so far (an ex-Air New Zealand aircraft in June), but this is likely to increase from now on. The passenger market recovery is expected to be slow in 2010, which along with increasing dominance of widebody twin jets on long haul routes, will likely impede passenger model 747-400s returning to service.

The attached spreadsheet (available by clicking on the link below) details the full production, in service & storage data points for the 747-400. It should be used and read in conjunction with the disclaimer and explanatory notes provided. For more information on this report, or any other commercial aviation data requirements, please contact the author, Robert Grundy. E-mail: RG7CAVN@gmail.com