More evidence of the sad state of the airline industry: USAirways 737-400 N407US, N408US, and N413US are being ferried to Nimes, France to be broken up for parts. These are 1988 build aircraft, retired in 2002 after only fourteen years of service. This according to the Mojave newsgroup.
Interesting shot of N413US, in a transitional US/Piedmont livery, I believe thats the old USAir red scheme with Piedmont titles in red (not the usual blue).
Quite amazing that 734s are being broken up, but these 734s, likely among the first off the line, are probably worth more in parts than in one piece....storage costs are high, and since the 734 had a smaller customer base that the 733, off to chop-shop they go. Sad.
The 734, even more than the 733, has been overshadowed by the 737NG aircraft....airlines seem to really appreciate the extra seats and extra range of the 738 over the 734 (which was always just a bit short on range), thus finding new operators for 734s is a bit difficult.
What's really going on with US? They seem to be sending a steady stream of planes to the knackers - is it to keep down their costs by providing themselves a supply of self-generated spare-parts? While the 737 Classics (esp. 400) are shorter on range than NG 737s and Airbus narrow-bodies they still attract used sales - indeed several of Ansett's stored 733s have now found new homes even after one was torn up. Nobody else seems to be breaking up Classic 737s at present.
All these aircraft, I suspect, are coming up on D checks. With so many aircraft out there, it would be a long time before doing the D check would pay for itself, so the planes are being turned into parts. I expect we'll see a lot of older 737-300/400's go this route in the current market, as well as MD-80's (CO's fleet comes to mind).
It is up to the leasing company or the company that purchased the planes from US Airways as to where they go to be broken up. Also, I seriously doubt US Airways has much say in what happens with the planes. The used aircraft market is extremely saturated right now, and there was talk a couple months back that Boeing may actually start buying used aircraft to scrap them to improve new aircraft sales.
Hey IslandHopper : You're not the only one that misses Piedmont my friend. What a great company that was!! I remember how happy the employees were there...as a 13 year old, I remember going with my father to Mr. Davis' retirement party (the founder and CEO as you probably know) out at Wake Forest University. Everyone at the company gave what money they desired and surprised him with a new Mercedes as a thank you/retirement gift!! I doubt I'll ever see anything like that happen at an airline ever again. Even though your posted picture of 413US has the "burnt toast" red of USAir's colors, it still brings back good memories of the good old days of the Pacemaker.
I saw N413US in Kingman last month and the paint was flaking off the to of her. Sad to hear . You would think smaller airlines (Ryan and Casino Express) would want to pick these up to replace the old gas guzzling -200's .
Champagne For My Real Friends,and Real Pain For My Sham Friends
Can anyone find out the current hours/cycles on these airframes, and how close they were to a heavy check?
On the Boeing used aircraft site, they have a 747 there fresh out of a D-check with something like 106,000 hours on it. I cannot imagine why anyone would put an over 100,000 hour airframe thru a D-check, let alone if they were going to try to dispose of it immediately afterwards.
That is quite suprsing. I wouldn't expect them to be scrapped till at least 60,000 hours. I suppose though the accountants thought this was better than paying $500 a month each to park in California. Hell, I'd let them park it on my lawn for much cheaper!
Caught me again. I see N413US was ferried IGM-YYR on Aug. 04. A database search shows 407, 408, 411, 413, 415, and 431 all in storage, but 413 is listed at MHV, not IGM... Guess it really doesn't matter now, as they're on their way to becoming razor blades.
The irony is, now that I look at my Airliner World 2003 Year Planner, the US 734 shown is indeed 415. It would thus be very ironic if this year is the one in which it dies!
The issue of needing D-checks is plausible but I still think US has a say in the destruction of these planes - if it were the lessors why are no other 737 Classics (3/4/5) being scrapped? (One may omit the 5 since it is relatively new and has been quicker to be resold, especially to East European carriers.)
BTW, this makes a total of six USAirways 737 classics broken up. The other three are being broken up at Greenwood, Mississippi. One -300 (N534AU) and two -400s (N411US, and N412US) are there. All with less than 15 years of service.
Seeing perfectly good 737-400s going to the scrap yard just turns my stomach. Nothing illustrates the sorry state of affairs in commercial aviation these days as clearly as that. I guess it's only a matter of time before we start seeing MD80s and 757/767s going that route. Sad.
On another note, I miss Piedmont a lot too. What a great airline that was!
So TWA 767s are getting scrapped too? Man, it's worst than I thought! It's one thing when old 727s and DC-9s get scrapped, after all, they are getting up there, but when you see aircraft with a lot of time left on their airframes going down, you know it's bad!
This SUCKS. I fondly remember my first ride on a 737-400 from CLT-ILM on Piedmont/UsAir summer of '88. It was a very rough landing at ILM bouncing on the runway very hard. I grew up in Wilmington, NC in the 80's and if you said anything bad about Piedmont someone might kick your ass!
Those TWA 767's that were scrapped had lots of hours and cycles on the clock, those things were worked hard over 60,000 hours. They where really worked hard after the 747's and L1011's were retired in 98 and 97 respectively
It's pretty sad to see those Boeings going to the to be cut up and all that Us Air will have left when the smoke clears is Airbus. I suspect that the -400s will be all gone in the near future, replaced by the A320. The last time I worked on the -400's, in 2001, they were starting to look a little rough around the edges, so by now a lot of them will need all new interiors, paint, etc. Most of these aircraft were sold by Us Air to the leasing company and then leased back to the airline...must make more business sense. All US Air is doing is turning the aircraft back to the leasor to get out of the lease...must be time to make an Airbus payment.
>Why would US spend money on new Airbuses, when they could run these 734's thru a D check for a lot less? More mis management?
No, pretty smart actually. USAir sold these planes and leased them back (as USairmech said), then declared bankruptcy which got them out of the leases. So the leasing company is stuck with these birds in a tough resale market, while USAir gets to lease (or buy?) new A320s for probably the same as they were paying for the old -400s. Wasteful, yes, but smart business for USAir.
I was unaware of the sale/leaseback deal.
I still find it ironic that the 2 US airlines that went BK had Wolf at the helm, and made big commitments to acquire Airbus jets. (Don't turn this into A vs B)
My point is along the lines of business management of overall operating costs/ start up costs for each new type, etc.. then sticking the leasing companies with still useful aircraft.
As far as ferrying the planes to France goes...it's supposedly a French company that is going to inventory the parts for European customers. It's easier (and cheaper?) to ferry them to France than to ship all the parts individually. At least they'll get one last glorious flight before meeting the scrap torch.