Brisbane Could Become A Plane Park With Space For 100+ Aircraft

With Qantas and Virgin Australia recently confirming that they will be stopping their international flights at the end of this month, there will be many more aircraft on the ground and not in the air, serving customers. A big question for airlines now is “where will these aircraft be parked?” Brisbane Airport, with its ample space, could be one of the answers…

Brisbane Could Become A Plane Park With Space For 100+ Aircraft
Brisbane Airport is the largest airport in Australia by land size, covering 2,700 ha. Photo: Stirling Day via Wikimedia Commons

Why Brisbane?

As the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne see more aircraft traffic, we might consider these airports as more convenient candidates. However, the problem with these locations is that space is limited. In fact, they would be unable to handle the potentially hundreds of aircraft coming from Australia’s main airlines: Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Jetstar.

However, look north of Sydney and we may find the answer at Brisbane Airport. Located in the state of Queensland on Australia’s east coast, Brisbane Airport claims the title of the largest airport in Australia in terms of land size. In fact, coverage is pegged at 2,700 hectares.

Brisbane Could Become A Plane Park With Space For 100+ Aircraft
An aerial view of Brisbane Airport. Photo: Brisbane Airport Corporation

According to Points From The Pacific, Brisbane Airport is a very long airport with substantial amounts of space that can be used. This potential parking space includes aprons, taxiways, or alongside its quieter terminals.

Brisbane Airport, via Points from the Pacific, provides some interesting information regarding aircraft storage:

  • The airport is capable of hosting a maximum of 101 aircraft
  • Brisbane Airport will store all of the grounded aircraft on vacant and decommissioned taxiways as well as the terminal aprons
  • There’s currently only one aircraft that is sitting grounded at the airport
  • Brisbane Airport’s managing company, Brisbane Airport Corporation, will be waiving all of its parking fees
  • It is strongly anticipated that aircraft arriving for storage will rapidly increase from next week
Brisbane Could Become A Plane Park With Space For 100+ Aircraft
Brisbane airport, like Melbourne and Sydney, is set to be a lot quieter in the coming weeks. Photo: Getty Images

What kind of aircraft are we looking at?

As international operations will be suspended in the coming weeks, we anticipate the first jets to be grounded will be larger, long-haul aircraft.

At Qantas, long-haul, high-capacity jets which will be grounded include its remaining few Boeing 747s. Additionally, a portion of its massive fleet of Airbus A330s won’t be needed, and of course, its superjumbo Airbus A380s will be redundant.

For Virgin Australia, this means some of its six Airbus A330s and its five Boeing 777s. It is anticipated that domestic travel will also be further in decline which will likely ground a number of narrowbody jets. This could include anything from ATR72s to A320s to 737s.

Finally, Jetstar, with its fleet of Boeing 787s and a massive fleet of Airbus A320 family aircraft could likely find a home at Brisbane as well.

A380 Qantas
Will we see any A380s at Brisbane airport? Photo: Getty Images

Conclusion

It’s almost a certainty that we will see aircraft parked at Brisbane’s airport. However, it’s still unknown how many from each airline and which aircraft they will be. With domestic operations still allowed, it’s likely that the Australian carriers will use their smaller, narrowbody aircraft for their cross-country and regional services.

Maybe it’s even possible we’ll see some grounded aircraft parked next to some SilkAir 737 MAX aircraft at Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage in Alice Springs. The “low-humidity environment” is considered an ideal holding yard for grounded planes.

Which aircraft do you think we’ll see grounded at Brisbane Airport? Let us know in the comments.

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