Airlines globally have seen a fall in demand as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the Lufthansa Group has effectively grounded some 150 aircraft. However, where do you store aircraft that aren’t flying? It seems as though a use for the incredibly delayed Berlin Brandenburg Airport has finally been found.
A week ago the Lufthansa Group announced that it would be switching from its current Berlin hub to Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport in November. However, it looks as though a significant change in circumstances has occurred due to the coronavirus pandemic. While not being used for passengers, Lufthansa has found a use for the new airport.
At the last count, Lufthansa had 150 aircraft effectively grounded due to the coronavirus epidemic. 25 widebody aircraft, and 125 narrowbody aircraft. However, airlines typically have a huge number of aircraft away from their hub at any one time. When a large number of aircraft aren’t flying, a hub airport such as Frankfurt or Munich can quickly fill up.
This is where Berlin’s Brandenburg comes in. While the inside of the airport is still receiving its finishing touches, empty aircraft have no passengers. As a result, Lufthansa has parked a number of aircraft at the unopened airport to save space elsewhere.
According to data from FlightRadar24.com, there are 19 Lufthansa A320s parked at the airport adjacent to Berlin’s Schonefeld Airport. 12 Airbus A321s, and seven Airbus A320s.
What about other airports?
It seems as though Lufthansa is using ramp space over by Frankfurt’s unfinished Terminal 3 for parking aircraft. This afternoon, Simple Flying witnessed at least two A380s parked at Frankfurt, alongside a number of A320 family aircraft, some Airbus A340s, and even a SWISS Airbus A220.
A number of other airlines have also been forced to ground aircraft. While Lufthansa had mentioned it was considering grounding its A380 fleet, it seems that only four are parked in Frankfurt. Two more seem to be grounded unrelated to the virus pandemic, one in Frankfurt, and another in Hamburg.
Other airlines that have grounded their A380 fleet are Korean Air, Qantas, and China Southern. Although, some airlines have only grounded a portion of their A380s. Cathay Pacific has also grounded a good portion of its fleet as it has been badly hit by the crisis.
Many other airlines will likely have grounded aircraft. However, they haven’t been making this fact so public. For example, Ryanair and British Airways are canceling all of their flights to Italy. this will mean some aircraft won’t be flying their full schedule.
Simple Flying reached out to Lufthansa regarding its grounded aircraft but was yet to hear back at the time of writing.
What do you think of using an unopened airport to store aircraft? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!