In Photos: Grounded Planes & Ghost Airports All Over The World


The aviation industry across the entire world is feeling the shock of the coronavirus crisis right now. From Australia to Canada, once busy airports stand empty and forlorn, while thousands of aircraft are mothballed. Here are some of the eeriest, most haunting and poignant images of the state of the industry right now around the world.

Airlines all over the world are parking their planes. Photo: Getty Images


As the original epicenter of the outbreak, the effect of the virus on China has been significant. Grounded aircraft litter major airports, with carriers still not flying internationally. Some uptick in capacity has been noted in recent weeks as domestic flying resumes, giving some hope of an eventual end to the crisis in the rest of the world.

Chinese airlines have been grounded for many weeks. Photo: Getty Images


Beijing Capital is like a ghost town. Photo: Getty Images

Tokyo’s flagship airport at Haneda is eerily empty, abandoned by long haul airlines as well as its home grown carriers.

Haneda is eerily quiet. Photo: Getty Images

In India, a sudden and strict complete lockdown has left hundreds of aircraft with no place to fly, with both domestic and international operations suspended.

IndiGo’s fleet is no use to it now. Photo: Getty Images

North America

In the US, Delta is parking more than 600 aircraft as travel demand plummets. The airline’s planes have been seen parked up alongside Southwest’s grounded 737 MAXs, suggesting at least some are being stored in the Mojave desert.

Delta Air Lines flies medical staff for free
Delta’s grounded fleet sits next to Southwest’s unusable MAXs. Photo: Getty Images

American Airlines has begun storing grounded aircraft too. The airline shared some haunting photographs of its grounded planes, which are being stored across four sites in the US.

AA’s planes parked at Tulsa. Photo: American Airlines

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, American is storing its Boeing 757s, 777-200s, 777-300ERs and 787-8 and -9s. These join its grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8s at TUL airport. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are its Airbus A320s, A321s and A330s as well as some Embraer E-190s.

Over in Roswell, New Mexico, American Airlines has parked its Boeing 737-800s along with some 757s, 767s and 777-200s. And in Mobile, Alabama, you’ll find a few A321s and 777-200s.

Crowding into Pittsburgh. Photo: American Airlines

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is usually the busiest in the world. But now it’s like a ghost town, with passengers describing it as ‘desolate’. One of its runways has even been closed to provide additional parking for aircraft.


Further North, Air Canada has parked around 90% of its fleet, and has temporarily laid off more than 15,000 employees in response to the crisis.

Air Canada aircraft parked at Toronto. Photo: Getty Images


Usually Europe’s busiest airport, London’s Heathrow is remarkably quiet. However, it’s by far the least affected of the London airports, still clocking up around 80 flights per day at the present time.

The usually bustling Heathrow is a shadow of its former self. Photo: Getty Images

Gatwick Airport handled just six flights in the last 24 hours, as did London’s Stansted Airport. Drone footage revealed a sea of parked planes and a distinct lack of movements around the airport grounds.

Numerous British carriers have parked their aircraft, including British Airways, who is today mulling furloughing as many as 36,000 employees.

British Airways planes stand motionless at the now closed London City Airport. Photo: Getty Images

The picture is similar across much of the continent, with all major airlines grounding significant portions of their fleets and airports standing empty amid extensive national lockdowns.

coronavirus air france A350
Air France’s brand new A350 is mothballed. Photo: Getty Images


Down under, the coronavirus is comparatively less prevalent, with just over 5,000 cases reported in Australia and less than 800 in New Zealand.

Both Qantas and Virgin Australia have been hard hit by the downturn, and with no help coming from the government, there is a real risk the Virgin brand could be wiped out in the nation.

Brisbane Airport departures check-in area is pictured empty. Photo: Getty Images

South America

Busy airports around the continent stand practically empty as the coronavirus grips South American nations. Major carrier LATAM has reduced its international operations to just five routes for the whole of April, with 90% or more of its services no longer operating.

The usually busy airport at Sao Paulo is practically empty. Photo: Getty Images
LATAM is reducing its international operations to just five routes. Photo: Getty Images.

With no end in sight, it’s unknown when we’ll see these airplanes and airports returning to their previous state of activity, if they ever do at all.

What do you think of these images? Let us know in the comments.