Due to the actual pandemic, air traffic has decreased by 80%. All flights have been cancelled due to the outbreak. Some aircrafts are still flying, most of them are cargo plane. They are carrying military hardware, sanitary facilities and some are repatriation for locals who wants to get back home.
Many airports are now closed to public. Paris Orly Airport is closed, as all major flights are operating in Charles de Gaulle Airport. The airstrips and taxi ways are used as storage for all aircrafts. Even if aircrafts are grounded, it requires a lot of maintenance.
While being stored, an aircraft needs more maintenance than when it is flying. Contrary to common belief, an aircraft wears out faster when it is not operating. An aircraft must be weathertight when it is going to be stored for a long period of time. A dry climate is perfect for it, it will help metals avoid rust. The desert is the perfect place to keep grounded planes.
While the aircraft is in service, crews are constantly checking to make sure it is airworthy. A long-term storage might lead to some malfunctions of an aircraft.
There are two ways of storing an aircraft; active parking and long-term storage. Active parking is expensive and heavy maintenance. The aircraft needs to be powered up at least every 2 weeks to lubricate parts, everything is covered but it is kept ready to fly.
It takes 2 weeks to put an airplane into a long-term storage. In the long run, it requires less maintenance. Engines can be filled with preservative oil and gaps in the fuselage are sealed. All open ports, obturations, pressures sensors, temperature, pitot tubes need to be covered. Engines must be protected as well. Protective coatings cover windows and landing gear. When the airplane is in storage, there is no need to power up systems. Doors will be sealed.
In order to avoid the deformation of the wheel, maintenance is also needed. With the airplane weight, it can cause the wheels to flatten on one side. All water tanks, oxygen tanks, fuel tanks and hydraulic tanks must be drained. As it can lead to pollution or corrosion. All extinguishers must be replaced when the aircraft returns to service. The engine of a turboprop aircraft needs to change position to avoid any deteriorations.
Long-term storage can damage the aircraft. Some of them might never be able to fly again. Companies can choose to sell their aircraft for parts. Due to this long-term storage, many of Deltass older planes will never be able to take to sky again. Delta is considering early MD-88, MD-90 retirements.
Airline companies can take advantage of this situation. They can renovate the cabin or install new technology, such as WiFi
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