Saturday, 11 April 2020

Putting a fleet to sleep.......at least for a little while.



Brussels Airlines Aircraft Hibernation 
As a consequence of the coronavirus crisis, Brussels Airlines had to temporarily suspend all of its flights. Except for a few aircraft that are on standby to bring stranded Belgians home or to operate humanitarian freight flights, the fleet is parked and stored at Brussels Airport. See below for more photos.

If you think this is a simple task, just like parking a car, you should guess again. Storing an Airbus A330 takes about 400 man-hours. The Maintenance & Engineering teams meticulously follow Airbus manufacturer instructions to make sure that the aircraft are stored safely. These instructions include making sure all windows are taped to prevent sunlight from decolouring the interior, landing gears and engines are thoroughly packed so that birds cannot nest in them and prevent corrosion. Inside, the seats are covered as well, to keep them crisp and clean.

All this creates an unusual, but spectacular sight at Brussels Airport. As an airport is not made to park so many aircraft at the same time, a taxiway even had to be cleared.

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines
One might think that after parking and locking an aircraft, there’s nothing left to do but wait until it can take off again. But in reality, the Brussels Airlines Maintenance & Engineering teams are kept quite busy in order to keep the fleet in tip-top shape. Every day, for example, the wheels have to be turned just slightly, to make sure they don’t get worn out under the weight of the aircraft and every week, inspections and tests need to be performed. 30 Maintenance & Engineering operatives still work full-time to perform all these tasks. They make sure that the Brussels Airlines fleet is ready to take to the skies as soon as the travel restrictions are lifted and people want to travel again. 





Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines


Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines
 There is something wonderfully beautiful about seeing all these aircraft lined up, in temporary storage, just waiting for the days when they can return to where they belong,  the vast open skies above us. Even in their slumber, these mechanical birds are magnificently impressive.  Although watching the video above I was most struck by the relative lack of background noise you would normally get at a major international airport. In a number of shots, the loudest noise is birds singing, which emphasised to me just how unusual these days are.  
Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines

Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines


Photo Copyright Brussels Airlines










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