While millions of people around the world are cutting their own hair and inventing new recipes amid the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of the world’s commercial airplanes are also getting much-needed rest.
Qantas has shared a video revealing how its planes are being maintained and cared for while grounded during Australia’s lockdown measures.
John Walker, the airline’s Melbourne-based Head of Line and Intermediate Maintenance Operations, shared that the planes are getting plenty of TLC while they sit in hangars waiting for global travel to resume.
“When you park an airplane, it’s not just like parking a car,” Walker explains. “You don’t just switch it off and lock the doors.”
The planes are towed periodically around so that their wheels can rotate, and service members clean the inside and outside of the aircraft. Depending on the model of the plane, its engine must be turned on either every 15 or 30 days, and the cockpit window is covered in tinfoil so the front of the aircraft won’t get too hot.
Parking planes can be a challenge even at the best of times. Airplanes only earn money when they’re in the sky, and it can cost hundreds of dollars per hour to pay for storage of a single plane. Fees are often determined by the weight of the plane, with huge passenger aircraft being understandably more expensive to store.
It’s also preferable to store planes in warm areas, as dry air is less likely to corrode a plane’s metal parts.
Qantas, of course, isn’t the only airline in the world taking care of its grounded planes right now.
Airlines like Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific and Germany’s Lufthansa have grounded some 90% of their fleets, with no idea how long it will take for travel numbers to reach their pre-virus peak again.
In the meantime, though, airplanes can “have their bath before bed,” as Walker puts it, presumably with bedtime story and glass of warm milk optional.
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