With airlines forced to ground their fleets, we’re seeing empty airports being used as parking lots for the world’s planes.
But it turns out you just can’t park a plane and walk away.
Qantas has revealed a lot of work needs to be done before tucking a plane into a long sleep
This ‘hibernation’ process has been explained in video posted to the airline’s YouTube channel.
According to John Walker, Qantas’ head of maintenance, before a plane is stored on the ground in ‘hibernation’ for an extended period of time there are a lot of jobs to do.
First, it is thoroughly cleaned inside and out, “pretty much giving it a bath before bed,” John says.
And even after the plane has been ‘tucked in’ things need to be done regularly to make sure it is “in a maintainable condition when it comes back to service.”
This includes towing the aircraft (to rotate the wheels, stopping flat spots forming), running the engines, covering the windscreen in silver foil (to keep the sun out of the cockpit), and covering sensors (so insects don’t get in and form nests!).
Fuel tank vents “can be mistaken by a bird for a nice nesting hole,” so these are also covered.
So, as travellers remain grounded until the coronavirus pandemic has been controlled and air travel resumes again, Qantas engineers will be busily tending to these sleeping planes until passengers can board and take to the skies again.
See also: Airlines compete with extreme cleaning policies to fight coronavirus
See also: Before and after: Maps reveal empty skies as planes grounded