COVID-19: Navigating the flight plan to recovery – DAILY UPDATE

Cirium's team of data researchers, analysts & market experts document the return to operation of the global commercial passenger fleet

Since the start of the global COVID-19 outbreak, Cirium has been tracking the changes to the market on a daily basis. We documented the surge of  aircraft being classified as stored between March and April 2020, see graph below. In addition, we have provided flights and aircraft activity updates for airlines and regions during the Hibernation phase. Now, there is a desire from everyone in the industry to start navigating the flight plan to recovery. Use Cirium’s data to stay ahead of the curve during COVID-19. 

Bookmark this page to read daily updates on:

  • Insight on the number of commercial passenger jets being classified as in-service vs stored
  • Flights and aircraft activity of airlines from around the world
  • Analysis on schedules, aviation asset values and fleets data all geared to spotting recovery trends

New daily update for 03/07/2020

 

More than half of the world’s Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 widebody passenger jets saw active service for scheduled flights during the seven-day period up to and including 1st July, underscoring how airlines are turning predominantly to latest-generation twinjets as they gradually restore widebody operations.

Over 64% of Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered A350s were tracked in flight during the period, together with more than 56% of 787s, which are offered with Trent 1000 or GE Aviation Genx engines.

By contrast, only 7% of four-engined passenger 747s were active, and only 2% of ultra-large A380s. More A380s are expected to return to operation later this month as Emirates begins to re-activate part of its 115-strong stored fleet.

Regarding age profile, significantly fewer than half of all widebodies built in 2015 or earlier flew during the week to 1st July. It remains to be seen how many older twin-aisle aircraft will make it back into service with most recovery scenarios not envisaging a return to 2019 traffic levels before 2023.

Southwest Airlines is quickly ramping up its passenger jet operations in stark contrast to US major rivals American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United, according to latest tracking data.

On Tuesday 30th June, Southwest flew more than 2,600 scheduled passenger flights using nearly 580 aircraft, equivalent to 64% of the volume it completed on the equivalent day a year earlier (Tuesday 2nd July 2019). By this metric, Southwest is ahead of the leading Chinese carrier China Eastern, which had recovered to 63% of last year’s flights total on this date.

Meanwhile, US mainline network carriers American, Delta and United – which have significantly greater exposure to international markets – operated approximately 33%, 29% and 15% of last year’s flight totals on 30th June, respectively.

Southwest has only 82 of its 702 Boeing 737NGs remaining in storage, alongside 34 grounded 737 Max aircraft. It could become the first airline to resume Max operations later this year, pending FAA re-certification of the twinjet.

Average daily flight hours per aircraft for Southwest were just under 7.7 on 30th June, compared with the global average of 6.2 for in-service 737NGs.

It remains to be seen whether Southwest’s momentum will be slowed by the rapidly increasing prevalence of confirmed Covid-19 cases in those US states that serve as its principal markets. In a recent trading update the carrier said it expected its July capacity to be 65-75% of last year’s level with an overall load factor of 45-55%. Operating revenue was projected to be 65-70% down compared with July 2019.

Analysis of latest Transportation Security Administration data by Ascend by Cirium consultancy for the seven days to 28th June showed a US system-wide load factor of approximately 50%, with passenger numbers having increased by 10% compared with the previous week.

Boeing has this week begun re-certification flight tests of the 737 Max having suffered an effective decline in the type’s order backlog which may be as large as one fifth since the beginning of 2020.

The US manufacturer started the year with an unfulfilled Max orderbook of 4,545, having delivered 383 aircraft prior to last year’s worldwide grounding order. However a series of order cancellations since January have reduced the official backlog by close to 7%, to 4,232.

This figure does not yet include the 92 Max cancellations announced by Norwegian earlier this week. Furthermore, an additional 507 aircraft listed in the backlog are classified under the ASC606 international revenue recognition standard, meaning they no longer meet the full criteria for inclusion as a customer commitment.

Excluding these 599 aircraft would leave Boeing with an orderbook potentially as low as 3,725 – almost 18% lower than January’s figure.

Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the aviation market. Prior to this downturn the largest market shift to affect the industry was the 2008 global financial crash. The chart below shows the order of magnitude of difference between these two events. In this snapshot we have solely focused on the number of aircraft classified by Cirium as in service , on order and storage. Although in 2008 there was a reduction in orders that continued throughout 2009 the main difference between the events is the number of aircraft in 2020 that entered storage.

 

US low-cost carriers Frontier Airlines, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines all operate – among other types – a mix of Airbus A320s and larger A321s. However collectively the latter variant is seeing significantly lower usage with these three carriers compared with the baseline member of the European manufacturer’s single-aisle family, in the face of weak passenger demand.

Frontier has all but eight of its 74 180-186-seat A320s in service, but all 21 of its 230-seat A321s remain in storage. Similarly, Spirit is operating 83 of its 93 A320s, but all but eight of its 30 A321s are stored.

JetBlue, however, is taking a different approach, pressing just below half of its 72-strong A321 fleet into service, alongside nearly half of its 130 A320s.

Frontier and Spirit each operated just over 200 flights with their combined A320/A321 fleets on Saturday 27th June, down 46% and 59% respectively compared with Saturday 29th June 2019. JetBlue completed only 151 flights with these types on 27th June, which represented a 79% decline compared with the equivalent day a year prior.

 

Average flight hours per aircraft for all three airlines across both aircraft types was 6.5 on 27th June – about five hours below typical levels recorded prior to the onset of the coronavirus crisis.

 

Snapshot focus: Aviation asset values: George Dimitroff, Head of Valuations, (Ascend by Cirium) provides insight on market value and lease rate changes for the A320-200 (5B/A5) and Boeing 737-800.  Since 1st April our global team of appraisers have gathered more than 200 lines of market intelligence data points for commercial aircraft and engines which are directly related to aircraft sales and / or operating leases. These data points are critical to allow us to make evidence lead Current Market Values changes.

Airbus A320-200 (5B/A5) Market Values decreased by 16% on a fleet weighted average basis, with the largest reduction seen pre-2004 vintages, while younger examples remained at the same level they were in April. The decrease is largely driven by a reduction in CFM56-5B engine values and also airframe values as 40 A320 family aircraft were parted-out in the first quarter and now there is very little demand for the parts.

In comparison Boeing 737-800 Market Values decreased by an average 6%, with the largest declines for pre-2005 vintages due to a feeble part-out market -with airframe parts being in low demand and CFM56-7B engine values having fallen since our last revision in April. Post-2005 vintages remain at the same level as April, for now, as several sale-leaseback transactions affirmed our existing values. However, new deals that are currently in the pipeline suggest that further reductions may be on the way in the coming months. The total value reduction for the 737- 800 since the start of the year, in percentage terms, is now closer to that of the A320 but still not quite as much. We suspect the lack of Max 8 deliveries is one of the factors that has supported values so far… Demand for airframes for freighter conversion also supports residual value, although potential bidders are now aiming for lower price points and younger vintages than before.

Our team of appraisers, including seven with ISTAT and two with ASA certification, sit within our Ascend by Cirium consultancy team. If you want to find out more about aviation asset values  click here.

 

Cirium classified: passenger jet aircraft returned to service in past 24hrs – 103

Cirium classified: percentage of passenger jet fleet stored – 44%

 

Central-European low-cost carrier Wizz Air has been quick out of the blocks in relaunching its operations, although its UK division continues to be hampered by its host country’s ongoing 14-day quarantine requirement for arriving passengers.

Wizz Air Hungary is operating more than 200 passenger flights daily using its 96 in-service Airbus A320s and A321s, leaving only 15 in storage. The UK unit meanwhile has seven of its 10-strong fleet in service but is operating just a handful of flights daily.

For the group as a whole, average daily flight hours per aircraft exceeded seven earlier this month, but by 22nd June this had fallen back to just over 6.5.

Cirium Dashboard reported Wizz Air chief executive Jozsef Varadi as saying during a recent World Aviation Festival webinar that the carrier is well positioned to grow its market share as a result of the coronavirus crisis, with plenty of cash on hand. He expects the market for leisure-focused shorthaul point-to-point services to be the among the first to recover as European travel restrictions are progressively lifted.

Wizz took delivery of its first Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-powered A320neo earlier this month, having received its first A321neo in early 2019.

 

US airlines operated slightly more passenger jet flights than their Chinese counterparts on Sunday 21st June – the first time this has occurred on a daily basis since 4th May. The total for US operators was just above 9,000, while Chinese airlines fell slightly below this level.

These latest tracking figures highlight the trend towards the USA edging slightly ahead of China once again, after May became the first month in aviation history in which Chinese operators flew the most passenger jet services globally.

On a seven-day rolling average basis China is still slightly ahead, but the impact of a further coronovirus outbreak in Beijing has put the country on a slight downward trajectory. US airlines continue to gradually rebuild their operations, although reported coronavirus cases continue to grow in many states.

Comparing year-on-year figures, tracked passenger jet flights for Chinese operators were down 27% on 21st June, compared with a 64% decline for the USA.

However narrowbody passenger jet flights by Chinese airlines were down only 24%, reflecting the relatively faster recovery of domestic and regional operations relative to intercontinental. By aircraft family, the Airbus A320 was down 22% while the 737 was adverse by 27%, with the latter type having been impacted by the suspension of 737 Max deliveries.

By contrast, there were 70% fewer tracked widebody flights by Chinese carriers, comparing 21st June 2020 with Sunday 23rd June 2019.

 

The global commercial passenger fleet in service figure now stands at 13,994 aircraft. You can view this figure daily and see the specific figures split by aircraft type, owner, manager and operator by subscribing to Cirium’s fleet and analytics platform.

Snapshot focus: Latin America utilization figures

Latin American airlines have generally struggled to make progress in restoring operations since the arrival of Covid-19 decimated their scheduled passenger jet flight activity from late-March.

Tracked flights for the region were down 90% for Saturday 20th June – compared with Saturday 22nd June 2019 – although a gradual improvement in the seven day rolling average daily percentage increase suggests the pace of recovery may gradually be picking up.

Cirium classifies fewer than 600 passenger jets operated by Latin American airlines as having in-service status, meaning that more than 1,000 are in storage. Average daily flight hours per aircraft on 20th June was below six, compared with close to 10.5 in mid-January.

Among the region’s largest players, nearly two-thirds of Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris’ 79 passenger jets were tracked making revenue flights between 14-20 June. However less than 30% of the Latam Airlines Brazil fleet saw activity, and only five of Avianca of Colombia’s 88 aircraft were used for scheduled services during this period.

 

Ascend by Cirium appraisers report that Current Market Values and Lease Rates are experiencing negative pressure as Covid-19 creates a stress scenario unlike anything previously imagined.

In terms of Current Market Lease Rates, larger single-aisle types such as the Boeing 737-800 and -900ER and Airbus A321 remain relatively unscathed at present, with fleet weighted average declines of around 5% or less since 30th January. However the Airbus A330-200 has suffered a similar drop of nearly 20%.

Complicating the picture is the fact that the demand outlook for this year, 2021 and beyond remains unclear. Realistic recovery scenarios suggest in-service airline fleets will remain below end-2019 levels until 2022 at the earliest.

Airbus and Boeing delivery projections meanwhile are sensitive to a number of key assumptions, but the most pessimistic scenario is consistent with 3,500 single-aisle and 900 twin-aisle deliveries cumulatively through 2023. The same scenario also projects a net 3,000 retirements over the same time period.

A renewed spike in coronavirus cases in Beijing is showing an initial impact on the recovery of passenger jet operations in China, according to latest tracking data.

Cirium recorded a 0.5% decline in tracked scheduled passenger jet flights by Chinese operators for Tuesday 16th June, compared with Tuesday 9th June.

Of the country’s largest carriers, Beijing-based Air China appears impacted most. It operated approximately 730 flights on 16th June, versus nearly 900 on the same day a week earlier.

Meanwhile schedule and status data for yesterday (17th June) for the whole of China showed a total of 2,500 removed or cancelled flights, while just over 9,200 operated. On the equivalent day a week earlier, nearly 400 additional flights were flown while total flights scheduled were roughly the same.

May was the first ever month in which Chinese operators flew more scheduled passenger jet flights than their US counterparts, however current trends suggest this position could be reversed in the coming weeks.

 

In the past 24hrs Cirium’s data researchers classified an additional 165 commercial passenger jets as in service.

Latest passenger jet flight tracking data shows encouraging initial signs of a pick-up in activity for Western Europe-based operators, led by France, Italy and Germany where travel-related restrictions are being progressively relaxed. However on Monday 15th June, scheduled flights operated for these three countries were still down 85-87% compared with the equivalent day a year earlier.

UK and Ireland-based operators meanwhile continued to lag behind their mainland European peers, with demand suppressed by the requirement for arriving passengers to self-isolate for 14 days. Tracked flights for these two countries were 97% down on last year.

Looking at the seventh-day-prior metric – comparing flights flown on 15th June with Monday 8th June – UK operators lead the way from a very low base with a 67% increase, followed by Germany (52%), France (43%), Ireland (29%) and Italy (19%).

 

More than half of the world’s passenger jets are now in service according to Cirium’s latest fleet data update. Today’s milestone marks the first time for nearly three months that the proportion of stored aircraft has been below 50%, after this key threshold was originally exceeded in late-March as operators moved to park large numbers of aircraft in the face of collapsing demand.

The impact of the coronavirus crisis peaked in mid-April when we reported nearly two thirds of global passenger jets as stored. Yesterday’s figure was 48.5%, with nearly 13,500 aircraft active and just over 12,700 stored.

However tracked flights by widebodies, narrowbodies and regional jets remain down more than 70% compared with last year, while flight hours are down more than three quarters, highlighting that those aircraft that are in service are being utilised at significantly lower rates than normal. The rolling seven-day average daily flight hours per aircraft figure is at just over six, compared with more than nine in early January.

 

Since Friday 12th June, Cirium’s data researchers have classified an additional 99 commercial passenger jets as in service. The stored fleet figure has reduced from 13,230 t0 13,146 aircraft.

Snapshot focus: Storage locations in Asia-Pacific 

Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has dropped from first to 10th place in the list of top storage locations for passenger jets in Asia Pacific as India’s airlines begin to rapidly reinstate scheduled flights following an almost complete shutdown.

There are now just over 50 aircraft in storage at the airport, compared with more than 200 at the height of the country’s lockdown in March. Most other Asia Pacific airports have seen declines in storage numbers over the past three months, although at more gradual rates.

India’s largest low-cost carrier IndiGo flew 158 of its aircraft during the seven-day period to 13th June, accounting for approximately two-thirds of its fleet. Air India had 70 active aircraft (56%), Vistara 37 (90%) and SpiceJet 25 (34%).

In total, more than 2,300 passenger widebodies, narrowbodies and regional jets remain in storage at 170 locations in Asia Pacific, while the region’s operators have just under 5,800 aircraft in active service.

In the past 24hrs a further 64 commercial passenger jets were classified by Cirium’s data researchers as in service.  The stored fleet reduced by 70 aircraft from 13,300 to 13,230.

Snapshot focus: A320neo vs A320ceo

Cirium tracking data suggests the more fuel-efficient Airbus A320neo is being favoured by airlines over older A320ceo models as we move further towards the recovery phase of the Covid-19 crisis. As of 10th June, daily tracked flights of A320ceos were down roughly 75% year-on-year, whereas A320neo operations were back to 50% of the 2019 level.

It should be noted that the total fleet of in-service and stored A320neos increased from just under 530 in January 2019 to nearly 1,000 by June 2020, whereas the global A320ceo inventory remained roughly constant at a little more than 4,200.

However, Cirium fleet data shows 54% of the A320ceo fleet remains in storage, whereas only 30% of the smaller A320neo fleet is currently inactive.

Between 10th & 11th June an additional  95 commercial passenger jets as in service. The overall share of the global stored fleet reduces  by 99 aircraft to 13,300 and remains in the 51% range of the global fleet.

Snapshot focus: ANA utilization figures 

In our airline overview we focus on the Japanese carrier ANA. The data below is split between their widebody and narrowbody fleet and presents the impact of COVID-19 on their operations.

Prior to the onset of the coronavirus crisis, the airline typically operated nearly 200 daily flights with its Airbus A320s, A321s and Boeing 737NGs.

All of the carrier’s 47 737NGs have been returned to service, while all but four of its 29 Airbus single-aisle aircraft are operational. The widebody picture is more mixed as international travel restrictions persist, with 47 out of 152 Boeing widebody twinjets classified as stored alongside both of the airline’s recently-delivered A380s.

 

Between the 9th & 10th June Cirium’s data researchers classified an additional  95 commercial passenger jets as in service. The overall share of the global stored fleet reduces to 13,399 and remains in the 51% range of the global fleet.

Snapshot focus: Aviation asset values during COVID-19

Passenger jet values and lease rates will be impacted with more than half of the global fleet in storage following the collapse in traveller demand resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Ascend by Cirium frequently reviews values and implements step-changes as the market moves, which means that values do not drop overnight. Indicators that feed into this analysis include part-out values, OEM production rates, used aircraft availability, schedules data for specific aircraft types and asset liquidity.

Base values take a long term view and even if the market takes three or more years to recover from the coronavirus crisis, this is still considered to be a short period relative to the span of the forecast. Ascend by Cirium’s appraisers are monitoring fleet and utilisation data to determine where adjustments may be needed, with certain categories such as end-of-production twin aisle types seen as particularly vulnerable.

Market values and lease rates are meanwhile unsurprisingly generally trending downwards as airlines find themselves with significant excess capacity in the short to medium term.

 

Between the 8th & 9th June Cirium’s data researchers classified an additional 453 commercial passenger jets as in service. The overall share of the global stored fleet now stands at 13,494, 51% of the overall total.

Snapshot focus: Commercial passenger jets becoming freighters during COVID-19

China Eastern Airlines is leading the charge in deployment of passenger jets with seats removed for cargo services with 13 Airbus A330-200s now operating in this temporary configuration. These aircraft make up around a third of the roughly 40 aircraft that Cirium’s researchers have so far confirmed to have been re-roled in this way globally.

Air China has similarly modified three 777-300ERs, while China Southern is using a pair of A330-300s, Hainan Airlines two A330-300s and Xiamen Airlines four Boeing 737-800s.

Lufhansa Group carriers have also moved to exploit this market niche by reconfiguring five A330-300s (Lufthansa), two 777-200ERs (Austrian Airlines) and a 777-300ER (Swiss). Our data visual shows the number of tracked flights Lufthansa operated using its modified A330s in May.

Using passenger aircraft for main-deck cargo flights has become economically viable for certain routes where there is high demand for transport of goods such as personal protective equipment during the coronovirus crisis.

An increase of 19 commercial passengers jets entering service, presents a minor change to the global in-service fleet.  Please read our Thought Cloud post on the methodologies that our data researchers follow for classifying in-service or in-storage aircraft.

Snapshot focus: Passenger jet order cancellations between 1st March and 8th June 2020

Airbus and Boeing have between them received order cancellations for 301 passenger jets since 1st March – the significant majority comprising leasing company commitments for Boeing 737 Max narrowbodies.

The Max had already been facing commercial headwinds due to the safety-related worldwide grounding order imposed early last year, prior to the collapse in passenger demand triggered by the onset of the Covid-19 crisis.

Boeing announced the restart of 737 Max production late last month, with the total order backlog for passenger versions now standing at 4,248.

Airbus remains relatively unscathed in terms of cancellations so far, although it has suffered the loss of 19 firm twin-aisle commitments, made up of 10 A350s for Latam Airlines Brazil, five A350s for Kuwait Airways and four A330s destined for lessor Avolon.

Also since 1st March, Cirium has recorded 33 delivery deferral announcements encompassing 420 passenger jets, highlighting the challenge faced by airframe manufacturers in rapidly scaling back output in line with sharply reduced airline demand for new aircraft. Meanwhile, in excess of 14,000 passenger jets remain in storage.

 

In the past 24hrs there was an increase of 146 in-service commercial passenger jets from 12,088 to 12,234 . The stored figures declined from 14,169 t0 14,025.  Since Monday 1st June there has been an increase of 943 commercial passenger jets in-service, a change from 44% to 47% of the global fleet.

Snapshot focus: Utilization trends of in-service aircraft, YOY and 7 day prior 

Average daily flying hours utilisation of passenger jets globally has stagnated at just below six since mid-May, while the number of aircraft tracked continues to grow slowly but steadily.

On Tuesday 3rd of June, Cirium tracked more than 7,000 passenger jets making at least one scheduled flight – the first time this has happened since 1st April. There are however just over 12,000 passenger-configured widebodies, narrowbodies and regional jets classified by Cirium as having in-service status, showing that a substantial proportion of the fleet continues to experience regular ‘no-fly’ days.

The low-point for aircraft tracked was 21st April at just over 5,100, with average flight hours at 5. By comparison, on 8th January more than 20,000 passenger jets were tracked and average flights hours per aircraft was 9.3.

Government-imposed travel restrictions and quarantine requirements continue to severely constrain passenger demand in many major markets, although with some regions recording steady declines in Covid-19 cases and related deaths these is increasing optimism that the cross-over point of fewer than half of the global passenger jet fleet in storage will be passed in the coming days.

Snapshot focus: Cirium Expert View Video: The steps to recovery in China

 

Between the 3rd & 4th June there was an increase from 11,995 to 12,088 commercial passenger jets in-service. The stored figures declined from 14,302 to 14,169. Please note, if as in this case there is a variance between the number of aircraft reentering service and coming out of storage, it can be caused by a range of factors including but not limited to; retirements and new deliveries.

Snapshot focus: sales and lease backs during COVID-19

Increasing numbers of airlines are turning to sale-and-leaseback deals as part of efforts to shore up cash reserves during the coronavirus crisis, and multiple operating lessors have demonstrated their willingness to capitalise on these opportunities since the beginning of March.

Cirium fleet data records 27 sale-leaseback deals having closed for a total of 82 passenger jets since 1st March, the largest being BBAM’s acquisition of 12 Delta Air Lines Airbus A321s. KKR’s investment arm Altitude Aircraft Leasing also picked up six Delta A321s which will be managed on their behalf by Altavair. Southwest Airlines sold 20 of its Boeing 737s, evenly split between Standard Chartered Aviation Finance (10 737-800s) and BOC Aviation (10 Max 8s).

Another Covid-19-driven deal – closed in March – saw BOC Aviation acquire six Cathay Pacific 777-300ERs.

Many more deals are in the pipeline, as reported by Cirium Dashboard. For example, BOC Aviation has agreed transactions for nearly 70 aircraft since the pandemic began, including another 20 American Airlines 787-8s, plus batches of yet-to-be delivered United 787s and 737 Max 9s and Wizz Air A321neos.

 

Between the 2nd & 3rd June there was an increase from 11,682 to 11,995 commercial passenger jets classified by Cirium as in service. Cirium’s fleets solution consists of data on 400,000+ aircraft, our customers can filter  by but are not limited to operating airline, manager, owner, age, region, lease end dates, MRO contracts and airframe utilization figures. To see the full picture of an asset, clients can choose to merge this information with schedules and aviation asset values. Stay ahead of the curve with Cirium.

Spotlight focus: schedule vs actual flown for Chinese domestic operations

Latest developments in China’s domestic market show how we might expect future schedules to become an increasingly reliable indicator of how many aircraft will actually fly, as air travel markets around the world embark on the road to recovery.

Cirium schedule and flight status data for 2nd June reveals that just over 23% of flights originally timetabled were subsequently removed or operationally cancelled. This compares with the height of the coronavirus crisis impact on 13th February when only 1,812 scheduled flights were operated and 11,294 (86%) were removed or cancelled.

Interact with the above by viewing our COVID-19 data visualization

However there is still a significant way to go towards restoring normality. In mid-January, Chinese airlines were operating close to 13,000 flights daily, with the percentage cancellation rate in the low single digits.

Looking at all scheduled services operated by Chinese airlines – including international – tracked flights remain down approximately 30% compared with a year earlier. This nonetheless compares favourably with the USA where tracked flights remain down by almost three quarters.

 

Cirium’s data researchers classified an additional 391 commercial passenger jets as in-service, taking the overall  percentage up one point to 44% and reducing the stored fleet to 56%.

Snapshot focus: leased fleet in India, South Korea & Vietnam 

Air Lease Corporation’s portfolio of passenger jets placed on operating leases with Indian, South Korean and Vietnamese operators appears to have been proportionally less impacted by the coronovirus crisis compared with rival top five lessors for those countries, based on percentage change in daily flights tracked compared with a year earlier.

However it should be noted that the number of Air Lease aircraft in service or in storage with airlines in these three countries increased from 30 in January 2019 to 40 by May 2020, which at least partially accounts for the number of tracked flights on 31st May 2020 being only about a third down compared with the equivalent day a year earlier.

Avolon has the largest presence in the Indian, South Korean and Vietnamese markets with 84 aircraft placed, while Aircastle, Aviation Capital and BBAM all account for between 40 and 44 aircraft.

The top five airline clients for these five lessors across the three countries are IndiGo (58 aircraft), Vietnam Airlines (28), SpiceJet (26), Air India (21) and AirAsia India (20).

 

Over the previous weekend, Cirium’s team of data researchers classified an additional 29 commercial passenger jets as in-service, the small increase was not enough to change the overall percentage from 43%. The number of stored aircraft changed from 15,002 to 14,970, 57% of the global fleet and a reduction of 32 commercial passenger jets.

Snapshot focus – airframe utilization figures by operator and aircraft type in New Zealand 

New Zealand presents an interesting case study into how we can expect national aviation markets to begin their recovery phase after a Covid-19 outbreak has been largely brought under control.

Aircraft tracking data for New Zealand operators up to and including Sunday 30th May shows flight activity for regional turboprops trending strongly upwards, closely followed by Airbus A320 Family narrowbodies. Air New Zealand’s widebody twinjet operations, meanwhile, are recovering much more slowly. However it is notable that its comparatively smaller and newer 787-9s have overtaken its 777s in terms of tracked cycles.

These usage patterns are reflective of the expectation that domestic markets will recover first, followed by intra-regional and finally intercontinental.

Overall, New Zealand operators have just over half of their passenger aircraft in service. Flag-carrier Air New Zealand is using more than two-thirds of its 23 De Havilland Dash 8 Q300 turboprops but fewer than half of its 34 A320/A321s.

Its widedody usage is indicative of operational demand for both belly-hold cargo capacity and latest-generation efficiency. All eight of the carrier’s 777-200ERs remain in storage but all seven of its larger -300ERs are in service, while 11 of its 14 787-9s are also performing revenue flights.

Globally Cirium now classifies just under 15,000 passenger jets as stored, representing exactly 57% of the total fleet.

Note: as of today we are making a further adjustment to best reflect the current in service and stored fleets. Aircraft will now be classified as entering storage if any of the following criteria are met: 30 days of continuous inactivity; ferry to a known storage facility; or airline-announced grounding or retirement of aircraft with immediate effect.

Aircraft will now be returned to service if we see at least one flight – or in most cases one pair/set of flights – after a period of storage or inactivity (subject to review by our dedicated research team).

Full details of the revised methodology are available here: https://www.cirium.com/thoughtcloud/understanding-ciriums-methodology-for-stored-aircraft-during-covid-19/

 

We documented the shut down phase with a rise in stored aircraft from 3,254 aircraft on 19th March to 15,768 on 14/04/2020. Cirium’s team of data researchers have been monitoring the market and classifying aircraft as in-storage based on their strict criteria, read more about their methodology here.

Further analysis pieces on the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation market

Find out more about how our insights can help you during COVID-19

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