An increasing number of large airlines are flying planes to a Gloucestershire airport to save on storage costs during the pandemic.
Storage and parts company Skyline Aero Limited – based at Cotswold Airport – said it has seen demand from airlines for parking planes increase by “several hundred percent”.
The company’s CEO, Bradley Gregory, told Sky News that airlines are saving costs by storing planes away from hub airports.
He said: “When the epidemic started, we were receiving a surge in leasing companies and then airlines, which were looking to store planes longer. I would say that requests have increased by several hundred percent. “
Sky News visited the airport two days after an aircraft from Italy arrived for storage.
Three British Airways aircraft, including two 747s, arrived at the airport in April.
The company generally deals with 40 to 50 planes arriving each year – mainly to break it down into pieces.
During the virus epidemic, the company focused almost entirely on storage, as the industry is fighting for its survival.
With the majority of the aircraft immobilized, the parts sector collapsed.
Gregory said, “We have seen the number of inquiries decrease by about 90% for components and parts.
“There have been some interesting requests for planes that are still in maintenance – so the darker parts are always in demand but the most common parts that airlines change daily are simply not purchased because there are none is just not as many many planes that fly. ”
A number of airlines, including BA and Ryanair, have announced layoffs, and Professor Andrew Grave, an aerospace analyst at the University of Bath, believes the sector may never return to pre-pandemic levels.
He said, “We have over 800 airlines worldwide. It has always been a very difficult industry to manage profitably. The best forecast we have right now is 400 to 500 could be bankrupt by June. “
He added, “Many of these planes are leased, leasing companies will want to take them back or some kind of reward, so this is a huge challenge for airlines, leasing companies and the banks that are leasing them. argue. “