Applying Storage Status to In Service Aircraft
The Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has had a significant impact on the normal utilization of airline fleets worldwide, with aircraft needing to be transitioned from "In Service" to "Storage" Status in Fleets Analyzer to reflect this. Our normal methodology is to detect at least 2-weeks of non-activity in order for a specific airframe to qualify for the application of Storage Status.
However, during peak reduction in air transport operations (Feb - 26th Apr 2020) we tightened the qualifying window to 7 days, reflecting the rapid groundings by operators around the world and enable our customers to see an accurate view of the “storage landscape”.
For fleets that are known to be 100% grounded, we can always apply Storage sooner than the 7-day rule. Additionally, we can determine storage for particular aircraft more quickly than 7-days by looking at other triggers such as ferry flights to airfield storage management facilities.
Effective Monday 27th April 2020, we adjusted our qualifying period for aircraft being in storage from 7 consecutive days back to the normal 14.
Effective 1st June 2020 aircraft will now be reflected as entering storage status if any of the following criteria are met;
- 30 days of continuous inactivity
- Ferrying to a known storage facility or locations used by airlines during this Pandemic, Bournemouth Airport in the UK an example with British Airways.
- Airlines announce groundings or retirements of aircraft with immediate effect or on specific dates before the 30 day tolerance
- Aircraft already in storage that are ferried to new storage locations will be tracked and continue to be in storage the same applying for aircraft placed into maintenance during their storage
Aircraft returning to service
Upon aircraft return to operational service, particularly in Asia, our inital criteria for updating our fleets data was as follows: an aircraft was considered to be in-service once we see flight activity on at least three of the preceding seven days, in addition, we will accepted five out of the preceding 14 days in recognition that a significant proportion of the fleet was seeing regular but highly sporadic utilisation.
The reason we set the tolerance at 3 days was to avoid any confusion over one-off repatriation or cargo flights that were occurring globally and seemed to be very ad-hoc in their nature thus not reflecting true operation.
From 1st June 2020 Aircraft will now be returned to service once we see at least 1 flight or in most cases one pair/set of flights after a period of storage status, however this will still be reviewed by our dedicated SMEs in our research team. This will also take into account any of the following events that will not trigger a return to service status;
- Ferry flights from one storage location to another or for maintenance after a period of storage
- Test flights either to and from the same location or as part of ongoing maintenance/cabin re-fits or painting will excluded from return to operation
- Aircraft previously/currently in service that are placed into Maintenance will not be shown as in storage;
- If Heavy Checks are being conducted these may take longer than 30 days
- Wherever possible we will track these events and confirm aircraft are still in service
- The time these checks now take and where they take place can be heavily impacted and so some aircraft on heavy checks may be classified as in storage
- Given the fluid nature it is not always possible to confirm definitively the reasons for inactivity.
- Cirium will also monitor the frequency of the changes we see and will endeavour to mitigate aircraft having two prolonged periods of inactivity either side of 1 flight
- This will of course be retrospective updates and made on a case by case basis
However we will not be retrospectively applying the new storage and in service classifications to data changes made prior to June 1st 2020
There is further information here about this approach here https://www.cirium.com/thoughtcloud/understanding-ciriums-methodology-for-stored-aircraft-during-covid-19/