Only 11 years have passed since the first 787 Dreamliner went into operation for All Nippon Airways and even today, flying in Boeing’s widebody is a different experience, thanks to the technological advances that the aircraft introduced in commercial aviation.
Boeing recently surpassed the milestone of a thousand aircraft delivered, all of which have been preserved to this day. However, that is about to change with the scrapping of the first two 787s in history.
The Irish company Eirtrade announced at the end of last month that it will dismantle two 787-8s that flew with Norwegian Air and were manufactured in 2013.
Aircraft currently displaying VP-CVL and VP-CVM registrations have been grounded at Prestwick Airport in Scotland since May 2019.
At the time, Rolls-Royce, supplier of the Trent 1000 engines, was facing corrosion problems on the fan blades of its turbofans, and the jets ended up being stopped due to lack of spare parts.
The Covid-19 pandemic came in 2020 and shortly afterwards Norwegian also announced the end of its long-haul flights, which caused its entire Boeing 787 fleet to be withdrawn from service.
The two Dreamliners, original registrations LN-LNA and LN-LNB, ended up being exposed to the weather in a region known for cold and humidity, a condition that is not suitable for preserving aircraft.
With no interest in reactivating them, the two Boeing 787s were condemned to become parts stock for models of the type that are in activity.
Non-existent used parts market
According to Eirtrade, 95% of the components can be reused, in a job that should take about three months in Prestwick. The company, which maintains its base in Knock, will have to carry out the disassembly in Scotland since the two 787s cannot be moved to Ireland.
Because it is a very recent aircraft, the 787 does not yet have a market for used parts. “As no B787s have been retired from commercial service to date, there is almost no USM [used serviceable materia] market for this platform at the moment,” said Ken Fitzgibbon, CEO of EirTrade Aviation.
We are entering into a specialist area and hope to become a market leader in the provision of USM for the platform which will enable the reduction of the cost of maintenance events for B787 aircraft owners.”
Eirtrade is one of the more experienced companies in this work, having dismantled Boeing and Airbus aircraft, including the A380, another jet that is retiring well ahead of schedule, but for different reasons.