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Where are U.S Airlines Grounding Their Aircraft?

As Coronavirus spread urges the world to stay to contain the contagion curve; airlines are forced to slash capacity in a move that is perhaps unprecedented in history. With thousands of aircraft temporarily in the ground, airlines in the U.S storing these frames in different locations across the country, particularly in locations with lower humidity to minimize airframe damages. This article seeks to dig into where do the biggest airlines store their aircraft until the world can fly again.

American Airlines 

 American Airlines has suspended most capacity with as much as 70 percent of domestic and 90 percent of international capacity axed until May. This leaves hundreds of jets including Boeing 737s, Airbus A321s and larger B777s needing temporary shelter on the ground until they are due to fly again. With maintenance facilities in Tulsa, the Fort Worth-based carrier is storing more than 500 aircraft on its Oklahoma premises. The airline is also grounding aircraft in Mobile, Roswell and Pittsburgh.


At the same time, the airline is speeding up the retirement of older jets, as demand is likely to take longer to recover. The 767-300 fleet, with an average age of around 20 years, normally operates to secondary markets in Europe and South America. This widebody will be retired by May 2020, a year before expected. Whilst the 757s, once the workhorse of the airline will be retired by 2021.


As Delta makes adjustments, resulting in a 70 percent average capacity reduction across its network; the majority of its fleet takes a rest at its home in Atlanta. Hartfield Jackson Airport is filled with aircraft in positions and taxiways across the apron. Some aircraft are also grounded in Victorville, California and Marana, Arizona, as reported by Business Insider. 

The airline will also retire its aging McDonnell Douglas MD80 and MD90s aircraft, which Delta has flown since the 1980s.


The Chicago-based carrier is cutting domestic capacity by 52 percent until May while maintaining international operations to a minimum in key routes such as Newark to Heathrow and Frankfurt and from San Francisco flights to Melbourne and Tokyo-Narita. As fewer aircraft are needed to keep the reduced operation going; United is storing aircraft in Orlando, Florida and Roswell, New Mexico. 

Smaller carriers are also making significant adjustments in response to what’s going on in the world. JetBlue is axing capacity by 54 percent due to low demand. Though the airline is grounding several A320 aircraft it is not yet known whether aircraft will remain at bases such as Fort Lauderdale, Boston and JFK or ferried to an aircraft storage facility elsewhere. 

Allegiant, on the other hand, has cut capacity by 15 percent until May but expect to make further cuts to around the 35 percent mark. Spirit will reduce capacity by 25 percent by May while Southwest cuts capacity by 20 percent until June. 

Jose Antonio Payet
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  • Jose Antonio Payet

    As a geography nerd, Jose has always been fascinated by the complexities of the airline industry and its ability to bring the world closer together. Born and raised in Peru, now studying in the UK. he has travelled around America, Europe and South East Asia. His favorite aircraft is the Boeing 767-300, which he has flown many times during his childhood; although now the A350 is slowly growing up on him.

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