KLM Turns Schiphol Blue With A Sea Of Parked Aircraft

As the coronavirus continues to ground airline fleets around the world, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is turning Schiphol blue, having taken the majority of its aircraft out of service. Today, rather than Amsterdam’s airport full of people, all that can be seen are the Dutch carrier’s aircraft. In what would appear to be a logistics nightmare, planes are parked up on every inch of available space, including one of Schiphol’s six runways.

KLM Turns Schiphol Blue With A Sea Of Parked Aircraft
KLM is parking more than 200 planes at Schiphol. Photo: Getty

KLM is now operating a small fleet

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic that has many people around the world on lockdown, KLM has started its summer schedule with a limited number of aircraft. Until the coronavirus crisis has passed, KLM has decided to park its largest aircraft at its home base of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS).

All of KLM’s Boeing 777-200s, Airbus A330s, and its last remaining 747s have been parked where ever there is space. The Netherland’s national flag carrier has also removed from service many of its regional aircraft such as the Boeing 737, and the Embraer 175s and 190s that it operates to destinations within Europe.

Under the shutdown, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines continues to operate repatriation flights for Dutch nationals stranded around the world using Boeing 777-300 aircraft and some of its Boeing 787-10 fleet.

KLM is retiring its 747s earlier than planned

Before the coronavirus started to spread from one nation to another, KLM had planned to keep flying its Boeing 747s until 2021, but now with nowhere to go, the 100-year-old airline has prematurely retired its remaining Jumbo Jets from service.

KLM Boeing 747
The 747s are being retired. Photo: KLM

The airline has said that after the COVID-19 crisis is over, the “Queens of the Skies” will be given the appropriate send-off before being flown to their final destination.

Parking planes at Schiphol

When all is said and done, KLM will have a total of more than 200 aircraft parked-up at Schiphol Airport, which thankfully is big enough to accommodate so many grounded planes. All of the gates not in use and the now-closed Aalsmeer Runway will be used to store aircraft.

KLM is using every available space to park its aircraft. Image: KLM

Because not every gate or parking stand is suitable for every type of aircraft, it is proving to be a challenge fitting the right plane in the right place. The main factor is, of course, the size of the aircraft, as planes need not to block one another so that, when the time comes, they can be moved around easily.

One of the criteria in parking-up planes is that enough space is left between them so that maintenance can be carried out efficiently. Another consideration when grounding aircraft for a limited time is to ensure that they are protected from the elements. The grounded aircraft also need to remain airworthy so that when the time is right they can be returned to service as quickly as possible.

KLM is using a closed runway to park planes. Photo: KLM

In an article published on KLM’s blog, the airline says that it is keeping a close eye on all of its parked planes and that once the green light is given, the blue birds will be more than ready to take to the skies again.