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Airliners sitting in the desert

Edward Wong reports in this morning’s New York Times about the growing fleet of parked airliners in the California high desert.

A plane put into storage generally goes through three stages: preparation, which includes covering the engines and taping all cracks (at a cost of about $12,000 for a narrow-body jet); monthly maintenance and engine checks ($1,000 or so a month); and restoration to service, essentially reversing everything done in the first stage (another $12,000).

I remember flying over this aircraft version of the mothball fleet a few years ago and marveling then at the assets just sitting there wasting away. The fleet has grown, post-September 11th.

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