What Are White Tail Aircraft?

When assessing the state of a given aircraft manufacturer’s order and delivery books, the term ‘white tail’ is…

What Are White Tail Aircraft?

When assessing the state of a given aircraft manufacturer’s order and delivery books, the term ‘white tail’ is one that you sometimes come across. Such planes are not typically a good sign for a planemaker, particularly amid the present challenging climate. But what exactly does the term white tail mean? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

Manufacturers can have white tail aircraft for several reasons. Photo: aceebee via Flickr

What are they?

So what exactly does the term ‘white tail’ denote when it comes to aircraft production? Simply put, the phrase refers to planes that are complete and ready to fly, but don’t have a customer to go to. These aircraft don’t wear a livery, owing to having no customer, leaving them with white tails, hence their name. This paradox can arise for several reasons.

For example, a manufacturer might build a given aircraft despite not having a customer in order to retain its production rate. Alternatively, an airline might cancel its order for particular aircraft with the planes already on the production line.

According to Reuters, the Boeing 737 MAX groundings also left the US planemaker with as many as 200 white tails. This came about as airlines canceled their MAX orders, with the groundings leaving Boeing unable to deliver them elsewhere. This resulted in a significant backlog of undelivered and unwanted next-generation narrowbodies.

Boeing 737 MAX, Deliveries, Resumption
The 737 MAX groundings left Boeing with hundreds of white tails. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

The situation at Airbus and Boeing

Despite the aforementioned masses of unwanted Boeing aircraft brought about by the MAX groundings, the US planemaker is recovering well. As it looks to recover from the double blow of the groundings and the coronavirus pandemic, it has managed to offload many of its undelivered planes. Of course, these weren’t just 737 MAX aircraft.

Indeed, as Simple Flying reported earlier this month, it also briefly had four 747-8 white tails on its hands. The manufacturing juggernaut also went months without delivering any 787 Dreamliners due to a series of production issues. However, Boeing is now finally in a place where it can say that it has been able to almost completely clear its backlog.

Meanwhile, at Boeing’s European rival Airbus, the situation is even more favorable. Indeed, Simple Flying reported in July that the transnational planemaker no longer has any white tails on its hands. This is an encouraging sign for the company as it, along with the aviation industry as a whole, looks to bounce back from the challenges of the last 18 months.

Southwest MAX
Southwest wanted to expedite its Boeing 737 MAX deliveries by acquiring white tail examples of the type. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Stay informed:  for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Picking up the pieces

Offloading white tail aircraft requires customers for the previously unwanted planes. For example, Boeing reportedly approached Delta last year in an attempt to re-sell its canceled MAX orders. One airline that has been keen to cash in on the surplus of available 737 MAX jets is Dallas-based ultra-low-cost carrier and existing MAX operator Southwest Airlines.

As early as November last year, it became apparent that the budget carrier was intending to acquire up to 30 of these undelivered aircraft. However, according to Mentour Pilot, these would not have been additional acquisitions, but rather they would replace Southwest’s existing orders. This would allow the carrier to receive the same amount of MAXs sooner.

Did you know what white tail aircraft are? Perhaps you’ve seen some on your travels? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

What's Your Reaction?


Next Article

La Palma Airport Shut Down Amid Volcanic Eruption

In Spain’s Canary Islands, La Palma Airport (SPC) was shut down on Saturday because of an ash cloud…

La Palma Airport Shut Down Amid Volcanic Eruption

In Spain’s Canary Islands, La Palma Airport (SPC) was shut down on Saturday because of an ash cloud spewing from an erupting volcano. The Cumbre Vieja volcano, which began erupting a week ago, has intensified recently with another volcanic vent opening up.

La Palma Airport is closed because of volcanic ash. Photo: Getty Images

The volcanic eruption on La Palma, which has a population of 85,000, is the first since 1971 and has caused the evacuation of around 7,000 people. Spanish airport operator Aena decided to close the airport following an accumulation of ash on the airport’s runway.

Some flights to the Canary Islands have been suspended

In a statement on Aena’s website and postings on social media, the airport operator says that other airports in the Canary Islands are still open. However, some airlines are suspending flights to La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife Norte, and Tenerife Sur due to the danger posed by volcanic ash.

Airport workers were kept busy trying to sweep volcanic ash off the runway as people came to the airport only to find that their flights had been canceled. With the airport closed, La Palma’s main port in Santa Cruz de la Palma was busy with people trying to escape to other islands. When speaking to a reporter for Reuters, 47-year-old Carlos Garcia said:

“I am going to Barcelona. But because we can’t fly, we are taking the ferry to Los Cristianos (on Tenerife island), and from there, we will go to the airport and fly to Barcelona.”

While the airport does get some charter flights from Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom, it is mainly served by inter-island flights operated by Binter Canarias and CanaryFly.

La Palma Airport
Airport workers are clearing volcanic ash from the runway. Photo: Aena

The lava is two kilometers from the sea

On Friday, emergency crews were forced to move back as the erupting volcano spewed molten rock and ash over a large area. In the southwest of the island, rivers of molten lava have destroyed hundreds of homes with about two kilometers left before the lava reaches the sea.

Once the lava reaches the sea, a thermal shock will be caused by the vast temperature difference between the molten lava and the seawater. When the two combine, it will create acid clouds and gases that can be fatal to humans and animals. When being interviewed by Spanish newspaper Dario AS professor of Geology at the University of Las Palmas, José Mangas said:

“It’s like mixing boiling oil with water.”

Of more immediate concern for the residents of La Palma is the vast ash cloud rising from the volcano. Volcanic ash can damage people’s airways and lungs, and eyes. The authorities on the island are telling people that if they must leave their homes, they should wear goggles and masks to protect themselves.

The eruption has entered a new phase

According to vulcanologists, the eruption has entered a new phase following the opening of a second vent with drones showing that the volcano’s cone had broken.

CanaryFly connects La Palma with Gran Canaria. Photo: Lasse B via Wikipedia.

In a news conference reported on by Reuters, the director of volcano response committee Pevolca, Miguel Angel Morcuende, said:

“It is not unusual in this type of eruption that the cone of the volcano fractures. A crater is formed that does not support its own weight and the cone breaks.”

La Palma is one of the eight main islands that make up the Canary Islands archipelago. Located in the Atlantic Ocean 62 miles off the coast of Morocco, Spain’s Canary Islands are a popular vacation spot due to year-round spring-like weather.

Has the volcanic eruption on La Palma changed your vacation plans? If so, please tell us about it in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.