Here’s Where Airlines Are Storing The Boeing 737 MAX

Apr 20, 2019

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With the timeline for re-entry into service unclear and the aircraft grounded worldwide, many airlines have made the decision to store their Boeing 737 MAXes at secondary airports and desert-storage facilities rather than allow them to take up space at major airports. Though reports indicated that the Boeing 737 MAX could re-enter service as soon as this June, airlines do not seem to be as confident in that timeline. Last week, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines announced that the plane would be removed from schedules through the busy summer travel season.

More than two months since the aircraft was grounded, here’s where airlines are storing the Boeing 737 MAX.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is the biggest operator of the MAX worldwide; it relocated its whole fleet to a particular airport. As of April 19th, all 34 of Southwest Airlines’ Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are parked in storage at Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, CA.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Southern California Logistics/Victorville Airport (VCV) 34

 

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are parked on the tarmac after being grounded, at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California on March 28, 2019. - After two fatal crashes in five months, Boeing is trying hard -- very hard -- to present itself as unfazed by the crisis that surrounds the company. The company's sprawling factory in Renton, Washington is a hive of activity on this sunny Wednesday, March 28, 2019, during a tightly-managed media tour as Boeing tries to communicate confidence that it has nothing to hide. Boeing gathered hundreds of pilots and reporters to unveil the changes to the MCAS stall prevention system, which has been implicated in the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia, as part of a charm offensive to restore the company's reputation. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX aircraft parked on the tarmac at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville on March 28 (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

American Airlines

11 of the airline’s 24 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are located at the airline’s maintenance facility in Tulsa. Storing the 737 MAX 8 at the airline’s primary maintenance base provides American Airlines with inexpensive storage and easy access to maintenance personnel.

Additionally, eight are in storage at Roswell in New Mexico, also noted like Victorville for the dry desert climate that’s easy on metal. The rest are scattered at minor airports in the US.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Tulsa International Airport (TUL) 11
Roswell Airport (ROW) 8
Orlando/Melbourne Airport (MLB) 3
Phoenix-Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) 1
Boston-Logan Airport (BOS) 1
Mobile Airport (BFM) 1

Air Canada

Air Canada’s fleet of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft is currently stored throughout Canada. The airline’s MAX aircraft can be found both at the airline’s major hubs like Montreal Airport (YUL) as well as smaller airports like Trois-Rivières Airport (YRQ). The airline operates the third-largest fleet of Boeing 737 MAXs worldwide.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Windsor International Airport (YQG) 8
Trois-Rivières Airport (YRQ) 5
Winnipeg International Airport (YWG) 4
Calgary International Airport (YYC) 2
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) 2
Halifax Airport (YHZ) 2
Montreal International Airport (YUL) 1

WestJet

WestJet has also stored its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft throughout Canada at various airports. Unlike Air Canada, WestJet’s aircraft are stored at larger airports each with regularly scheduled passenger service. The airport with the most WestJet 737 MAX aircraft is Kelowna Airport (YLW) located 257 miles east of Vancouver in British Columbia.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Kelowna Airport (YLW) 5
Calgary International Airport (YYC) 3
Toronto International Airport (YYZ) 2
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) 1
Edmonton International Airport (YEG) 1
Hamilton International Airport (YHM) 1

Sunwing

Sunwing is a Canadian lesuire airline with a fleet of just four Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. All are stored at Windsor in Ontario.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Windsor International Airport (YQG) 4 (all)

Icelandair

Operating a small fleet of 737 MAX 8 aircraft, Icelandair keeps all of them at its base, Keflavik Airport outside the capital Reykjavik.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Keflavik Airport (KEF) 3 (all)

 

Icelandair's new Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane in Iceland. (Photo by Pall Jokull for Icelandair/The Brooklyn Brothers via Getty Images)
Icelandair’s new Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane in Iceland. (Photo by Pall Jokull for Icelandair/The Brooklyn Brothers via Getty Images)

United

The sole US operator of the larger MAX 9 model, United Airlines is storing its fleet at various airports across the US including at United’s hubs like San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH).

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Houston-Hobby (HOU) 8
Houston Intercontinental (IAH) 2
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) 2
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) 1

 

One of the two United 737 MAXes kept in storage at LAX (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)
One of the two United 737 MAXes kept in storage at LAX (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)

Copa

With a small fleet of just 6 MAX 9 aircraft, Panama-based Copa is storing all of its aircraft at its home base.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Panama City/Tocumen Airport (PTY) 6

GOL

Brazilian carrier GOL operates a fleet of just 6 Boeing 737 MAX 8, all grounded at the Tancredo Neves Airport (CNF) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Tancredo Neves Airport (CNF) 6

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines keeps all the grounded MAXes at the three airports serving Istanbul.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Istanbul Ataturk Airport (ISL) 9
Istanbul International Airport (IST) 2
Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW) 1

Flydubai

Flydubai operates a fleet of 13 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. All are stored in Dubai at one of the emirate’s two airports.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Dubai International Airport (DXB) 10
Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) 3

 

FlyDubai’s Business Class aboard the Boeing 737 MAX 8

TUI Group

One of the largest leisure carriers in Europe, TUI Group operates a fleet of 15 737 MAX 8s and is storing it throughout Europe. The majority are currently stored at Manchester Airport in the UK (MAN) and Brussels Airport in Belgium (BRU). The remaining 6 aircraft are stored at various airports throughout Europe.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Manchester Airport (MAN) 5
Brussels Airport (BRU) 4
Tenerife Airport (TFS) 1
Amsterdam-Schipol International Airport (AMS) 2
Stockholm-Arlanda International Airport (ARN) 2
Sofia International Airport (SOF) 1

Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air is the largest European operator of the Boeing 737 MAX. With operating bases throughout Europe, the airline’s 737 MAXs are being stored throughout the continent at airports in the UK, Norway, Spain, and other European countries — plus one in Israel.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Gran Canaria Airport (LPA) 3
Oslo Airport (OSL) 3
Helsinki Airport (HEL) 2
Dublin Airport (DUB) 2
Copenhagen Airport (CPH) 2
Tenerife Airport (TFS) 1
Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN) 1
Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) 1
Edinburgh Airport (EDI) 1
Paphos Airport (PFO) 1

Air China

The second-largest Chinese operator of the Boeing 737 MAX, the airline has 16 of the aircraft in its fleet. Air China is storing the aircraft at three airports throughout China.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Beijing International Airport (PEK) 10
Chongqing Jiangbei Airport (CKG) 5
Tianjin Binhai Airport (TSN) 1

China Eastern

According to the latest data from Flightradar24, the airline operates just three Boeing 737 MAX 8s. The airline likely operated a fourth aircraft with the registration B-205L, however, that aircraft appears to have joined the China Southern Airlines fleet. China Eastern is storing all of its 737 MAX aircraft at Kunming Changshui Airport (KMG).

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Kunming Changshui Airport (KMG) 3

China Southern

China Southern Airlines is the largest Chinese operator of the Boeing 737 MAX with 25 in the fleet. The airline’s fleet of 737 MAX aircraft is stored at three airports throughout China. Additionally, the airline has six flight-ready 737 MAX 8s in storage in the United States at Seattle-Boeing Field (BFI).

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport (URC) 12
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) 12
Lanzhou Zhongchuan Airport (LHW) 1

Aeromexico

With just six Boeing 737 MAX 8, Aeromexico has managed to store all of its 737 MAXs at the airline’s largest hub, Mexico City International Airport (MEX).

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Mexico City International Airport (MEX) 6 (all)

 

(Image courtesy of Aeromexico)
(Image courtesy of Aeromexico)

Xiamen Air

Xiamen Air has 10 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the fleet. The Chinese airline is storing its entire fleet at two airports in China.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (XMN) 6
Fuzhou Changle International Airport (FOC) 4

Hainan Airlines

Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines operates a fleet of 11 Boeing 737 MAX 8s. The airline is storing its fleet at three airports across China.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Haikou Meilan International Airport (HAK) 5
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) 3
Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport (SZX) 3

SpiceJet

The only airline in India operating the Boeing 737 MAX, SpiceJet has a fleet of 13 MAX 8s. The airline is storing the aircraft at airports throughout India.

Airport Number of Aircraft Stored
Delhi/Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) 5
Ahmedabad Airport (AMD) 2
Chennai International Airport (MAA) 2
Bengaluru Airport (BLR) 1
Mumbai International Airport (BOM) 1
Kolkata International Airport (CCU) 1
Hyderabad Airport (HYD) 1

 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: A TUI Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft is parked at Manchester Airport on March 12, 2019 in Manchester, England. The Civil Aviation Authority has grounded Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft and forbidden them from flying through UK airspace following the Ethiopian Airlines crash this week. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Storing The 737 MAX: A Potentially Pricey Task

We reached out to various airlines for information regarding the storage of their MAX aircraft, but none was willing to say how much storing the planes costs. Eric Ray, the director of Southern California Logistics Airport at Victorville, told us that the airport’s base fee for monthly storage of a Boeing 737 is $450 per month. However, Ray noted that this is merely a baseline; airlines have to work out a price for storage and maintenance.

When asked about additional fees airlines incur when an aircraft is stored at the airport, Ray told TPG that fees varied from tenant to tenant. Many airlines that store aircraft are required to follow an FAA-mandated “active storage program.” FAA guidelines state that “Storage programs are intended to preserve the aircraft in a known state through methods, techniques, and procedures designed to mitigate or eliminate the adverse effects of the storage environment and non-operation of the aircraft.” Maintenance storage programs could include regular maintenance as well as extensive aircraft overhaul procedures.

Nevertheless, for airlines that are unable to accommodate the Boeing 737 MAX at one of their own maintenance facilities, the cost to store an entire fleet of modern narrowbody aircraft is sure to add up.

With reporting by Howard Slutsken

This story has been edited to add a missing WestJet 737.

Featured image by Max Prosperi/The Points Guy

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