As COVID-19 grips nations around the world, several of them have imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb its outbreak. With travel restrictions and sealed borders, the aviation sector is facing one of the worst times in its history. As parking proves to be a critical issue in these times a recent photograph shows Air Canada Boeing 777-300ER and Delta 767-300ER flights parked in the Arizona desert.
Taxiways, maintenance hangars and even runways at major airports are being transformed into giant parking lots for more than 2,500 airliners, the biggest of which takes up about as much room as an eight-story building with a footprint 3/4 the size of an American football field.
More unusual sites from the #arizona desert. @aircanada Boeing 777-300ER and @delta 767-300ER in storage at #Pinal #MZJ due to the #CoronavirusPandemic pic.twitter.com/K4K6os6Rjc — Royal S King ☀️ (@royalscottking) April 10, 2020
The number of planes in storage has doubled to more than 5,000 since the start of the year, according to Cirium data, with more expected to be parked in the coming weeks as carriers like Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd and Singapore Airlines Ltd proceed with further announced cuts to flight schedules.
In Frankfurt, Germany’s biggest airport is a ghost town of silent airliners. Its northwest landing runway, including taxiways and bridges, has been converted to an aircraft parking lot for Lufthansa, Condor and other airlines. Lufthansa brand Swiss has rented parking spots at a military airport close to Zurich.
Similar crowds of planes are parked at other major airports, including Hong Kong, Seoul, Berlin and Vienna as well as traditional desert parking lots in Victorville, California, and Marana, Arizona, according to data from flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.
In Manila, some Philippines Airlines jets are parked in the Lufthansa Technik Philippines hangar, an airline official said.
(With inputs from Reuters)