How Australian airline Qantas takes care of its planes on the ground in the middle of Covid-19

How Australian airline Qantas takes care of its planes on the ground in the middle of Covid-19

(CNN) – As millions of people around the world cut their hair and invent new recipes amid the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of commercial aircraft around the world are also enjoying a well-deserved rest.

John Walker, the line manager and intermediate maintenance operator for the Melbourne-based airline, said planes are receiving a lot of TLC as they sit in hangars while waiting for global travel to resume.

“When you park a plane, it’s not just like parking a car,” says Walker. “You don’t just turn it off and lock the doors.”

The planes are towed periodically so that their wheels can turn and the service members clean the interior and exterior of the aircraft. Depending on the model of the aircraft, its engine must be switched on every 15 or 30 days and the cockpit window is covered with aluminum foil so that the front of the aircraft does not get too hot.

Parking planes can be a challenge, even in the best of times. Planes only earn money when they are in the sky, and it can cost hundreds of dollars an hour to pay for the storage of a single plane. Fees are often determined by the weight of the aircraft, with huge passenger planes being naturally more expensive to store.

It is also best to store airplanes in hot areas, since dry air is less likely to corrode the metal parts of an airplane.

Qantas, of course, is not the only airline in the world to take care of planes on the ground now.

Airlines like Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong and Lufthansa in Germany have immobilized some 90% of their fleets, without knowing how long it will take for travel numbers to reach their peak before the virus again.

In the meantime, however, airplanes can “bathe before bed”, as Walker says, likely with a bedtime story and an optional glass of hot milk.


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