Narrowing Down

When you look at the entire range of tags that Aviationtag has produced, one fact is incredibly obvious - a large number of releases come from narrow body aircraft. Why is this?

Let’s look at the sorts of aircraft that come under the narrow body category, primarily the turbofan examples. 737s, 757s, the A320 family. All aircraft which are either life expired or have since had a newer version produced.

The 757, whilst extremely popular, has seen nearly 40 years service in the skies and in 2003, Boeing finally called it a day on the production of the 757. A large number of 757s are still in service as freighter aircraft, but their days as passenger liners are numbered. Their replacement? Boeing hasn’t really committed to creating a Next Generation version of the 757, and instead markets the 737MAX as a suitable replacement.

The 737, an even older design - with the 737 first flying in April 1967, has been replaced with the MAX version, offering better range and fuel efficiency. Despite the rocky start the MAX had, it’s numbers will continue to increase, and as a result the older versions of the 737 will gradually fill up the aircraft graveyards.

The A320 family has also seen a newer version come to life. Airbus announced its “New Engine Order” in 2010, offering two new generation turbofan engines to power the aircraft. The order book for the NEO filled up rapidly, with it outselling the 737MAX in most regions outside of North America. Some airlines have also been offered the choice to convert their “Current Engine Order” orders to NEOs.

As manufacturing methods, fuel efficiency and advancements in technology and range change and increase, the popularity of newer, greener and quieter aircraft will also increase. Subsequently the result of this is the older versions being retired sooner than would previously have been anticipated.

There are tag releases from A320 family aircraft dismantled at a very young age. Germania’s D-ASTZ flew for 12 years. British Airways’ G-EUOH was active for 18 years. China Eastern’s B-2400 had a lifespan of 15 years. Whilst smaller aircraft do have more a greater amount of take off and landing cycles, much larger compared to long haul aircraft, it’s astonishing to see so many aircraft cut up before even reaching 20 years old.

Wide body aircraft tags do hold a greater sense of history to them, but it’s impossible to ignore that the smaller aircraft have just as much pedigree to them, and realistically, I think it’s safe to say we can expect many more narrow body tag releases in the months and years to come.

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