After Airbus's announcement that they plan to discontinue A380 production in 2021 after the last orders are filled, how long will they have to guarantee the availability of A380 spare parts?
A redacted purchase agreement sample is publicly available on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's website. While the agreement is for an A320, it shows that [typical] agreements include a Seller Service Life Policy.
Subject to the general conditions and limitations set forth in Clause 12.2.4 below, the Seller agrees that if a Failure occurs in an Item before the Aircraft in which such Item has been originally installed has completed within █████ after the Delivery of said Aircraft to the Buyer, whichever shall first occur, the Seller will, at its discretion, as promptly as practicable and for a price that reflects the Sellers financial participation as herein after provided:
(i) design and furnish to the Buyer a correction for such Item and provide any parts required for such correction (including Seller designed standard parts but excluding industry standard parts), or
(ii) replace such Item
Basic stuff airlines can easy acquire or fabricate themselves are not covered by the policy, such as bearings:
Bearing and roller assemblies, bearing surfaces, bushings, (...) are excluded from this Seller Service Life Policy.
Basically it's top secret, but the airlines (and their lawyers) would typically make sure their planes will keep flying for as long as they want/possible and/or to retain their value when sold to other parties before the end of their life-cycles/hours.
Note that an end of production is not related to spare parts. Spare parts come from hundreds of suppliers, and are stocked. So just because Airbus won't be assembling big parts, doesn't mean they will abandon the small parts, especially their proprietary parts; money is to be made still.
When a company decides to terminate the construction of a specific airplane, then this company needs to follow some conditions. In the contracts between Airbus and airline companies, there are many conditions concerning multiple aspects.
There are conditions for example about:
- spare-parts availability
- transfer knowledge about specific features of the airplane
- training (not for all the occasions)
- and more (we are not in a position to know them all and in detail)
These conditions are discussed in the beginning, before the signing of the contract. Of course, conditions may differ from one contract to the other, but I think you got the point behind this idea.
So there is no way that someone will tell you what will happen between Airbus and their clients because this information is confidential. As soon as, the clients of Airbus do not sue them, then their contracts are including mechanisms about this.
Lastly, these contracts most of the time are including basically conditions about safety or financial sections. There is coming the role of ICAO, IATA, EASA, FAA and more. These organizations are responsible for managing properly also the sector of safety/security. The fact that spare-parts availability is playing vital reason in the safety of the passengers among the world, then it is 100% sure that they also know about it and they know how to handle it.
Hope that I helped.
Yes, there may be a time lapse during which airplane makers have a regulatory committment to provide spare parts, a Turboprop Canard having few sales forced the builder to start purchasing all remaining airplanes, it was cheaper to them than fulfilling the compromise to provide parts