GROUNDED: Parking the Qantas Fleet

With airlines all over the world more or less grounded, where on earth are they parking their aircraft?

Typically, at any given moment, a huge proportion of the world’s aircraft are in the sky. But not these days—the global shutdown has brought the aviation industry to a standstill.

All up there’s more than 200 Qantas Group aircraft parked at major airports around Australia.

Parking a plane isn’t as simple as locking up your car and walking away.

Here’s how Qantas has managed the issue of parking and maintaining its fleet while it awaits a return to the business of flying.

Cleaning

In an update from the airline, John Walker, Head of Maintenance at Qantas, stated that all aircraft are given some ‘TLC before being put to bed’ including an extensive ‘deep clean’ of every interior surface. The outside is given a good wash, too.

Wheels

Did you know that all aircraft have their wheels rotated every seven to 14 days while parked? This is done either by being towed around the tarmac or by using a jack to hoist and spin the wheels. This helps having to replace tyres due to ‘flat spots’.

Engines

Aircraft engines require specialised care as well. Given that each A380 engine is worth about $US25 million, maintaining them is critical.

The engines also need to be fired up every seven or 14 days. The rest of the time, a cover is put on the engine cowling to protect it from dust and insects.

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