In pictures: Grounded aircraft around the world

Mar 23, 2020

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The coronavirus crisis has affected everyone and everything — from individuals who are isolating to the health care system and the travel industry. Specifically, airlines.

Related: Where is British Airways parking its planes during the coronavirus outbreak?

Carriers from around the world have been forced to cut capacity, with some even grounding entire fleets. As a result, bizarre scenes are cropping up all over the globe as the aircraft take a rest on stands, aprons and even runways.

Here are 10 of the most beautiful and haunting images from airports around the world in the past few days.

Related: The logistical problems with grounding aircraft and pilots

Incheon International Airport, South Korea

Korean Air has drastically cut many of its routes, especially in Northeast Asia. It’s taken to grounding a number of its fleet at its hub airport of Seoul Incheon (ICN).

Korean Air Lines Co. aircraft sit on the tarmac at Incheon International Airport at dawn in Incheon, South Korea, on Monday, March 9, 2020. The coronavirus outbreak in South Korea is showing signs of slowing as the rate of new daily infections falls and health authorities almost finished testing members of a religious sect at the center of the epidemic, the country's health minister said. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(Photo by SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific will cut 96% of its passenger capacity in April and May, leaving lots of aircraft lined up at its hub airport, HKG.

A Cathay Dragon passenger airplane takes off as Cathay Pacific passenger airplanes are seen parked on the tarmac at Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok International Airport on March 10, 2020. - Hong Kong's flagship carrier Cathay Pacific is expected to release its full-year financial results on March 11. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, United States

Parts of the world’s busiest airport are starting to look like a parking lot. Delta Air Lines, which is based in Atlanta, is parking more than 600 of its 1,340 aircraft, with the airline’s expectation to come back much smaller after the coronavirus.

Schiphol Airport, The Netherlands

KLM will reduce its network by up to 90% in the coming days, and in a devastating blow for AvGeeks, the airline will retire its Boeing 747 fleet.

Aircraft operated by Air France-KLM sit on the tarmac at Schiphol Airport, operated by the Royal Schiphol Group, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Saturday, March. 14, 2020. Airlines, hotels and cruise operators are beginning to dip into $73 billion of back-up cash facilities and new loans, as the coronavirus hammers global travel demand. Photographer: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(Photo by Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Frankfurt Airport, Germany

Whilst repatriation efforts continue, Lufthansa is paring down its network. During its period of capacity cuts, it will continue serving select destinations in the U.S. and other countries.

18 March 2020, Hessen, Frankfurt_Main: The German airline Lufthansa and other airlines are drastically reducing their flight plans due to the coronavirus epidemic. Photo: Vasco Garcia/dpa (Photo by Vasco Garcia/picture alliance via Getty Images)
(Photo by Vasco Garcia/picture alliance via Getty Images)
12 March 2020, Hessen, Frankfurt/Main: A passenger plane on the tarmac of Frankfurt airport. As of Saturday, Europeans are banned from entering the USA. The aviation industry is also affected by the travel restrictions resulting from the corona pandemic. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa (Photo by Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images)
(Photo by Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Vienna Airport, Austria

Following news that Austrian Airlines will temporarily suspend all operations beginning March 18 through at least March 28, it’s in the process of bringing most of its aircraft home to Vienna (VIE).

Glasgow Airport, United Kingdom

British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group announced last week that it is slashing capacity by 75%, with aircraft being parked across many airports. While BA’s long-haul fleet is quite spread out right now — from Heathrow to Cardiff and even Manila — most of its A321s are grounded at Glasgow.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MARCH 21: A grounded fleet of British Airway planes sit on the runway at Glasgow Airport on March 21, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to at least 186 countries, claiming nearly 12,000 lives and infecting more than 286,000 people. There have now been 3,983 diagnosed cases in the UK and 177 deaths. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka

SriLankan Airlines has a huge swathe of cancellations across its network. As such, it’s taking to parking most of its aircraft at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB).

For those of us who love the aviation industry, it’s upsetting to see so many aircraft parked, with nowhere to go. As airlines around the world continue to suspend operations, it’s likely many of these aircraft will remain grounded for several weeks — if not longer. Hopefully, soon enough, we’ll see them return to the skies.

Featured photo by DANIEL ROLAND/AFP via Getty Images

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