Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

From British Airways to Lufthansa: world's aircraft come to rest at Spain's parking lot

Teruel Airport has seen an increase in demand during the pandemic as airlines grounded their fleet

Teruel Airport in Spain is like a who's who of global airlines.

For plane spotters, it could be a treasure trove – the planes are mostly not moving, so no need to frantically scan the sky. That is unless they are just arriving – and they have been doing so more often in recent weeks.

This isn't your typical airport with passengers jetting off to far away lands or connecting from one end of the globe to the other.

Teruel is used for aircraft maintenance and storage, and amid the coronavirus pandemic, there's been thousands of unused planes needing a parking space as some of the world's biggest airlines grounded their fleets.

A quick scan of the tail fins reveals the familiar sight of Lufthansa and British Airways, workhorses of Europe's skies, plus the blue and red stripes of Air France, and a couple of Etihad Airways planes.

It currently has eight Airbus A380s standing idle on the tarmac, and hosts a total of 95 widebody aircraft.

The number of planes arriving per week to be parked in the airport has doubled since the start of the global pandemic, Reuters reported.

According to the airport's website, it has at least 250 long-term aircraft parking spaces, comes with free air space, and boasts 242 days of sunshine a year.

It was built on the space of the old Caude aerodrome, which was used during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

It was later used as an artillery range by the Spanish Air Force.

"This site was used historically for military aeronautical activities because of its exceptional climate conditions, location and low density of air traffic," its website says.

As of April, about 64 per cent of the world's 26,000 passenger planes are currently grounded, according to data provider Cirium.

Etihad said it had parked 80 per cent of its passenger planes at Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Southside Terminal and was using the down time for maintenance activities on the aircraft.

Emirates, with the world's largest wide-body fleet, grounded nearly 200 jets as passenger flights were suspended in the UAE from March 24.

Updated: May 12, 2020 08:20 PM

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