What has triggered the sudden increase in the demand for aircraft components in Nepal?
For some time now Locatory.com experts have been observing an increasing demand for aircraft spare parts in the South Asian market, particularly in Nepal. The rising load of component searches has been noticed from both civil and military aviation industries, with the highest demand for aircraft engines and their components. But what are the causes for such a sudden boost in a relatively small aviation market?
‘Currently there are several dozens of AOC-holders in Nepal. Considering the country’s geographical position and air traffic intensity, the national air travel market is not that significant. The fleets of many local airlines consist of small and medium sized airplanes as well as various helicopters. Lately local operators have been faced with several major concerns, including their aging fleets (and thus intensifying AOG situations) and redelivery issues,’ commented the CEO of Locatory.com Zilvinas Sadauskas.
While the national flag carrier – Nepal Airlines – operates one of the largest fleets in the country, many of its aircraft are considerably aged. Some of its 19-seats DHC-6s made their first flights in nearly 1970-80s and the average age of the fleet exceeds 20 years. Other operators like Tara Air, Sita Air and Guna Airlines also operate relatively old aircraft, which were manufactured in mid-end of 1980s. Though in theory an airplane may remain airworthy and fully safe at any age (whether it is 5, 10 or 20 years old), maintaining older generation aircraft entails bigger MRO-related expenses.
One of the factors, triggering higher prices for older aircraft is the scarcity of parts
‘One of the factors, triggering higher prices for older aircraft is the scarcity of parts. It may be quite difficult to find a required part for your 20-30 year-old Dornier 228 aircraft, which is still relatively popular in civil aviation, as well as in law-enforcement and military-related segments. Considering the poorly developed internal logistics network of the region, the issue is of a particular concern to operators conducting regional flights across Central or South Asia, where they are often left without prompt spare parts assistance in AOG situations,’ explained Zilvinas Sadauskas.
Other issues which may have triggered the increasing demand for aircraft spare parts are related to redelivery. Many Nepalese airlines, including Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines and others, have been operating leased aircraft for quite some time now. However, with the companies approaching the redelivery time (when an operator is required to return the leased aircraft to the owner), high quality and cost-effective spare parts solutions become a burning issue for airlines.
‘When returning the leased aircraft to its owner, the operator is required to restore all the resources. First and foremost it concerns the resources of engines. Unfortunately, restoring an aircraft to its pre-leasing condition may often entail unplanned expenses as high as USD 1.5-2 million. Since a single aircraft component may cost approx. USD 200 000, and considering the redeliveries and fleet renewals in the region, the increasing amount of inquiries we have been receiving recently raises no eyebrows. Local airlines are simply forced to look for more affordable high quality spare parts for their aging regional aircraft,’ concluded the CEO of Locatory.com