Values of the most widely used older aircraft continue to decline as carriers struggle to recover from the effects of 11 September and a poor economy.

The dip in the value of the Boeing 757-200, which was ailing before last September as it lost popularity with European charter airlines and the Boeing 737-800/900 encroached on its market from below, appears to have levelled off, say appraisers Aviation Specialists and IBA Group.

Avitas Aviation shows a steeper decline so far this year. For the third quarter of 2001, Aviation Specialists revised down values of the 757-200 just after 11 September from $13.3 million last summer for the 1982 model and $26.5 million for the 1992 model. These have now fallen further to $10.2 million and $22.1 million respectively.

The market is becoming so soft that if perhaps as few as 20 757s become surplus at one time, lessors could put aircraft out on power-by-the-hour deals, says one lessor with 757s in its portfolio.

Delta Air Lines is understood to have agreed a sale/lease-back of between 20 and 25 1988-1992 Pratt & Whitney-powered 757s. The airline was reportedly asking $11-14 million for a seven- or eight-year full pay-out lease, but with no return conditions. Airbus A320 prices have stabilised and may have hit bottom, with Aviation Specialists showing a slight increase in values this year. Avitas and IBA Group assess a slight decline.

The International Aero Engines V2500-A1-powered A320 in the sample is less desirable than the V2500-A5 powerplant and generates a penalty in values.

The oldest 737-300 has shown a slight but continuing decline this year - Aviation Specialists valued this aircraft at $11.5 million before 11 September - but newer 737-300s are still holding up reasonably well.

Hardest hit in values are the Boeing MD-80 series. A 1982 MD-82 with Pratt & Whitney JT8D-217A engines is now worth only $4 million, according to Aviation Specialists, although IBA rates this at just over $6 million.

The MD-80 is the first generation of Stage 3 aircraft, with the noisiest and most polluting of the Stage 3 engines.

Source: Flight International