Around the world, airlines have been sending aircraft to storage to cope with the current lack of demand. One place, in particular, that has received many aircraft is Teruel in Spain. Recently released images show just how the aircraft are stored.
Before the current crisis, some of the Simple Flying team had never heard of Teruel. Indeed, this sleepy Spanish airport is used to accepting the occasional aircraft at the end of its life. However, the current crisis has changed everything. Airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa, and Air France have sent dozens of aircraft to the facility for storage.
How are they stored?
Storing an aircraft isn’t as easy as just parking it up and coming back when it’s needed. Have you ever left a car for too long and the battery just won’t let it start? Now, imagine an aircraft with many more parts that is much more complicated.
You may have seen pictures of aircraft with their engines covered recently. This is done to ensure that no contaminants enter the engine. However, it’s not just the engines that are covered. Any ingress point will be sealed.
This keeps out dust and water. However, in the past even animals have found their way into stored aircraft. One notable incident saw a barn owl found hiding away in a Virgin Australia engine.
We covered the complete storage processes before. However, the process will differ slightly in Teruel as the aircraft are being turned for much longer.
Who is using Teruel?
Prior to the current crisis, many airlines had used the facility at Teruel for aircraft at the end of their life. Indeed, notable examples include KLM Boeing 747s and Etihad A330s. The airport also houses several Boeing 747s from the now-defunct Russian airline Transaero.
However, the facility’s popularity has increased as airlines look to store larger aircraft that have excess capacity. First we saw five British Airways Boeing 747s flying down to the airport in a convoy. The airline’s owner, IAG, has examined the possibility of retiring these aircraft early.
Lufthansa has also sent many aircraft to the Spanish aircraft graveyard. The German flag carrier is in the process of sending its entire fleet of 17 A340-600 aircraft. At least seven of these will never fly again. However, the airline has also sent seven A380s to the facility. All of these have been retired.
Last but not least is Air France. Earlier this week the French flag carrier announced that it would retire it’s entire A380 fleet, making it the first airline to take such action.
Do you think any of these aircraft will fly again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!