Global airspace normally facilitate around 9000 to 11000 air planes. With less people taking to the skies during the corona virus pandemic, many major airlines are grounding their planes at airports across the country. Thousands of commercial airplanes worldwide are being parked because of the corona virus pandemic. Left without passengers, either because of travel restrictions or because people just aren’t flying, airlines are choosing to put many of their planes in storage at airports all over. The point of concern is where are all the planes parked when there is not much space on runways to accommodate all the planes at once?
But you can’t just decide to park an airplane and then start it back up in weeks or months when the crisis is over. First, an airline has to find available space; the American Southwest has a lot if it, plus a dry climate that helps metals avoid rust, so that’s where many airplanes are going. Second, it has to prepare the planes for storage, which requires a lot of work: Planes aren’t cars, and they can’t just pop back to life after months in the garage.
And because taking planes out of long-term storage is expensive, many of the jets airlines are parking because of COVID-19 will never take to the skies again. Stripped of valuable parts like engines, seats or instruments, they will end up scrapped for metal to recycle. That is for example the fate that will most likely befall the McDonnell Douglas MD-80s that Delta Air Lines is sending to storage. One consequence is that when the crisis is over, U.S. airlines will fly younger and more fuel-efficient fleets, which also will emit fewer greenhouse gases.
Where are all the planes parked as Airspace is vacant?Tweet
In this video, TPG Audience & Community Producer Wallace Cotton, whose knowledge of civil aviation is renowned even among a staff full of serious aviation geeks, explains how airplane storage works and how airlines are using it to cope with the effects of the pandemic.
Different Airlines have occupied various unusual areas for plane parking
Between shelter-in-place orders, border closures, travel bans, and social distancing advisories, demand for air travel has also plummeted, leading airlines to suspend routes, cancel flights, ground huge portions of their fleets, and give early retirements to older planes.