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Where are all the unused planes right now?

Older Aircraft

Some older airlines will have to make the hard decision to retire some of its older fleet like the Boeing 747.

Currently, there is uncertainty across the world on when it will be safe to lift the world’s lockdowns, and the airline industry is equally uncertain.


This is a professional note extracted from an online article.

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Where are all the unused planes right now?

Where are all the unused planes right now?


Key Ideas

Planes On The Ground

March 2020 was supposed to see around 180000 total fights taking off per day from across the world, but due to the lockdown, airports are eerily quiet.

Apart from the job losses in the airline industry, and the hardships faced by the general public, there is another problem being grappled with: Storage and care of the grounded airplanes.

Always In The Air

Due to space constraints, most airplanes, especially the large ones, were kept in the air almost all the time, only to land for getting the passengers (and cargo) in or out, refueling and cleaning.

Planes are supposed to operate efficiently and with greater reliability if they are used frequently, and not when they are parked.

Parking The Planes

  • Dedicated Parking Spots: Some companies use special aircraft storage premises called ‘desert boneyards’. Some companies are using airport hubs, which have ample spaces for parking.
  • Runway Parking: EasyJet has grounded almost all of their fleet and as it already has a dispersed hub structure, is parking the planes across 30 airports. Lufthansa and others have parked their planes in the now unused runways.

Caring For The Planes

The ‘airplane care’ protocol is in place already, and the planes are handled according to their size and usage.  Planes are deactivated by covering the engines and sensors, draining all oils, and disconnecting electrical components. These activities take about 60 hours for each plane.

Planes also need to be protected from extreme weather conditions and are to be regularly checked by qualified mechanics.

Older Aircraft

Some older airlines will have to make the hard decision to retire some of its older fleet like the Boeing 747.

Currently, there is uncertainty across the world on when it will be safe to lift the world’s lockdowns, and the airline industry is equally uncertain.



Social Distancing In Planes

Social Distancing In Planes

As social distancing measures need to be implemented due to the 2020 pandemic and its causes, airlines are examining how this will be impacting flying, once the travel restrictions are eased.

Eliminating The Middle Seat

Current guidelines make a good case of eliminating the not-so-favorite middle seat. It was always the least favorite, with no real benefits, unless you’re one of those people who strikes up conversations with their seatmates.

This elimination may be required in the short-term. Airlines are checking on how feasible it is, and whether they can be profitable by flying with a lesser load of passengers, who are slightly farther from each other, but not as much as the distance recommended by WHO, which is two meters (or 6 feet).

Other Measures

  • Having fewer passengers is feasible with the current load factor, but is not a complete solution.
  • Airlines can try out other measures to make travel safer in these unprecedented times, like improved cabin air circulation, better pre-flight screening, cabin sanitizing, masks, and smart seat assignments. One can also look at how the passengers are boarded in the aircraft.
  • Some steps planned are reduced interaction with the flight attendants, with alterations in the way food and beverages are served.

Flying Changes our Mind and Body

Flying Changes our Mind and Body

Taking a flight creates physical and emotional changes in us, something that is now being more extensively researched. Air travel can change our mood, make us emotionally weak (more cryi...

Flight Effects on Passengers

While we are on a flight, there are plenty of changes that we can experience:

  • Change in brain chemistry and memory due to the deficiency in oxygen.
  • Cognitive deficits in people who are already ill.
  • Increased tiredness and more yawning during the flight.
  • Deterioration in vision, dryness of skin, change in taste of food due to a reduction in the sensitivity of our taste buds and a decrease in the sense of smell.
  • Change in air-pressure makes passengers generally uncomfortable with the sitting.

    The Anxious Flight Passenger

    Mood swings, along with general anxiety or nervousness are common among flight passengers.

    • Less oxygen can increase the effects of alcohol and the overall anxiety. These factors contribute to emotional changes, which can make people less friendly, more stressed out and lethargic.
    • People are also prone to severe mood swings, like having extreme emotional reactions to movie scenes which would otherwise appear normal to them.

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    Decide if you should face your fear

    Decide if you should face your fear
    • Consider the pros and cons of not facing your fear. 
    • Write those down. 
    • Identify the pros and cons of tackling your fears head-on. 
    • Write down what ...

    Evaluate Risk Level

    Just because something feels scary, doesn’t mean it’s actually risky. Educate yourself about the facts and the risks you actually face by doing the things that scare you. 

    Create an Action Plan

    The key to facing your fears is to take one small step at a time. Going too fast or doing something too scary before you are ready can backfire.

    Keep moving forward. A moderate amount of anxiety is good. Don’t wait to take a step forward until your anxiety disappears.

    If you can’t actually do the thing that scares you to practice, you might use imagined exposure. 

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