In Photos: Lufthansa Makes Frankfurt Look Like An Aircraft Graveyard

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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.

Lufthansa, Grounded Aircraft, Frankfurt
Hundreds of Lufthansa Group aircraft have been grounded across Europe. Photo: Oliver Roesler – Lufthansa

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.

Lufthansa, Grounded Aircraft, Frankfurt
Both long- and short-haul aircraft have been grounded. Photo: Oliver Roesler – Lufthansa

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.

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Lufthansa, Grounded Aircraft, Frankfurt
Frankfurt’s northernmost runway is being used for A330 and A340 aircraft. Photo: Oliver Roesler – Lufthansa

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.

Lufthansa, Grounded Aircraft, Frankfurt
A320 family aircraft have been parked on taxiways. Photo: Oliver Roesler – Lufthansa

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.

Lufthansa, Grounded Aircraft, Frankfurt
It is unclear when these aircraft will fly again. Photo: Oliver Roesler – Lufthansa

Runway storage

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.

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Lufthansa, Grounded Aircraft, Frankfurt
The current crisis is unprecedented. Photo: Oliver Roesler – Lufthansa

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.

Lufthansa, Grounded Aircraft, Frankfurt
Frankfurt is operating with just two runways. Photo: Oliver Roesler – Lufthansa

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.

Lufthansa, Long Haul, Grounded
Six Airbus A380s won’t fly for the airline again. Photo: Getty Images

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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What is your favorite memory of a Lufthansa flight? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!

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