Aircraft trader and support specialist AerSale has acquired 24 Boeing 757-200 passenger jets that were stored at its facilities in Arizona and New Mexico.

The company will dismantle “a portion” of the fleet for spare parts and convert the rest into freighters, which it says are in strong demand. All 24 aircraft are equipped with Rolls-Royce RB211-535 engines, and 16 spares are included in the deal.

“Pre-Covid, more freight was carried in the cargo holds of passenger aircraft than in pure freighters,” notes AerSale president of aircraft and engine management Craig Wright, adding that reduced demand for passenger travel combined with the “explosive growth” of the e-commerce market has meant there is “a shortage of dedicated freighter aircraft for the foreseeable future”.

The 24 757s are among almost 500 aircraft stored by AerSale at its Roswell, New Mexico and Goodyear, Arizona facilities on behalf of various airlines, financial institutions and leasing companies. The freighter conversions will be carried out by AerSale at its Goodyear site.

An undisclosed portion of the acquired fleet and spare engines will be disassembled to retrieve used serviceable material.

“The amount of USM we will receive from parting out a number of these aircraft and engines will feed an almost insatiable USM demand from our airline customers that operate in the express-package market,” states AerSale president of material sales Gary Jones.

AerSale has not disclosed the party from which it has acquired the aircraft, but says they were “last operated by a top-tier airline customer”.

Cirium fleets data shows that American AirlinesDelta Air Lines and United Airlines all have a number of 757-200s in storage. The 757-200s stored by Delta, however, all have Pratt & Whitney engines.

American has 36 Rolls Royce-powered 757-200s listed as being in storage and has previously said it intends to retire its 757 fleet by 2021. United, meanwhile, has 26 Rolls Royce-powered 757s in storage but has not publicly indicated any plans to accelerate their retirement.