Eerie photos released by Lufthansa show the true extent to which the airline has been storing aircraft in Frankfurt. It has essentially turned the airport into an aircraft graveyard, at least for the time being.
Of course, Frankfurt Airport isn’t an actual graveyard, as most of the aircraft in storage will hopefully fly once again. However, as Lufthansa’s main hub, many tens of aircraft have come to be stored at the German aviation capital. In fact, the airline has even commandeered a runway to park some of its larger aircraft on.
Demand has plummeted
The last month has been full of surprises for the aviation industry. In fact, in the space of 30 days, the European flight schedule has dropped from a few flights canceled, to most flights no longer being operational.
This has left carriers with a unique challenge. Typically, a large number of aircraft from any single airline’s fleet are flying or at a destination airport at one time. Of course, if you suddenly need to store the majority of your fleet in one location, you have a problem.
This is a problem that British Airways encountered during its pilot strike last year. Some aircraft were stored as far away as the west coast of the United States. However, storage has never been required on such magnitude before.
While grounded aircraft is a problem for the aviation industry, in a way it is also a part of the solution. While aircraft are parked up across the globe they are not flying. This means that even the world’s busiest airports have a far reduced demand for flights.
In turn, due to the fall in demand for flights, fewer aircraft are taking off and landing. In the case of Frankfurt, this means that the airport has been able to completely close two runways, and still manage to handle every inbound and outbound flight.
Unfortunately, there is currently no end in sight for when the situation may improve. However, the Lufthansa group isn’t optimistic that it will be some time soon. In fact, the CEO of Austrian Airlines has said that he expects demand to take three years to recover to pre-crisis levels.
Indeed, The Lufthansa Group yesterday revealed that a number of aircraft would be retired with immediate effect. This sadly included six of the airline’s Airbus A380s.
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