Scarce 777 Parts Will Affect Aftermarket

By Henry Canaday
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

Lead times depend on circumstances. If an item is in Spirit's inventory, there is no problem. But new builds can take 6-12 months. If it is an AOG, the aftermarket unit will try to pull it from production for new jets, and is sometimes successful, sometimes not. Tomei says tight markets usually last until a new derivative arrives. He expects Boeing to announce a new 777 in 2-3 years.

Parts are short in traditional aftermarket trading, but OEMs and power-by-hour providers have limited-access pools, says Scott Holdman, vice president of parts trading with AAR Allen Asset Management. Airlines also hold stock, but tend to be supported by OEM programs. Holdman sees possible shortages in high-mean-time-between-repair items such as avionics and starters and expensive assets such as auxiliary power units, landing gear and nacelles.

Prices are close to MLP and lead times are affected, as production goes first for new aircraft. Holdman sees some inventory from scrapped Varig and Air India 777s. AeroTurbine just finished tearing down a former Singapore Airlines' airframe. Holdman foresees parts common to several 777 types becoming more available in the next three years as early 777s are parted out.

Roscoe Musselwhite, president/CEO of Kellstrom Materials (formerly AirLiance Materials), notes that more than half of the 1,074 777s flying in March 2013 were operated in the Middle East, Far East and China. These carriers tend to purchase spares from OEMs because they are distant from U.S. suppliers and are financially strong enough to buy new, not used.

Musselwhite says the 777, nearing 20 years in service, will need spares for heavy checks, thus there is demand for air conditioning, electric power, fuel and hydraulic systems and engine parts.

Moreover, many subsystems on 777s are not compatible with other airframes, so parts have always sold for a high fraction of MLP. Many LRUs are supplied by pools, loans and exchanges, and many repairs must be done by OEMs. Musselwhite sees a “lucrative business” in 777 parts for those that understand the importance of exchanges and pooling.

Engine Manufacturers for 777
Aircraft TotalMarket Share
General Electric71264%
Pratt & Whitney17115%
Source: Aviation Week Intelligence Network Fleets
Boeing 777s by Region
Central America4
Far East58134151143
Middle East339162112
South America4
Source: Aviation Week Intelligence Network Fleets

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