An aircraft boneyard or aircraft graveyard is a storage area for aircraft that are retired from service. Most aircraft at boneyards are either kept for storage with some maintenance or have their parts removed for reuse or resale and are then scrapped. Boneyard facilities are generally located in deserts, such as those in the Southwestern United States, since the dry conditions reduce corrosion and the hard ground does not need to be paved. The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, the largest facility of its kind, is colloquially known as "The Boneyard". In some cases aircraft that were planned to be scrapped or were stored indefinitely without plans of ever returning to service were brought back into service as the aviation market or the demands of military aviation changed or failed to develop as anticipated.
Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on aviation demand for aircraft storage increased dramatically in 2020. Furthermore, many aircraft that had initially been planned for short term storage were ultimately stored long term or even scrapped altogether, requiring maintenance work to prepare the planes for the different plans. As demand recovery behaved differently from expectations, temporary shortages as well as the requirement to prepare planes for long term storage after a few months of short term storage caused issues. Planes that have been stored for a few months cannot be brought back to service on short notice. The longer planes are stored, the more time it takes to get them fully airworthy and ready to fly again. Bringing a narrowbody aircraft back from long term storage takes roughly 40 worker hours while for widebody aircraft the number is roughly 100 worker hours.
Notable aircraft boneyards
|Alice Springs, Northern Territory||Australia||First large-scale aircraft boneyard outside the United States.|
|Saskatoon, Saskatchewan||Canada||Contains 23 old Fokker F-28 Fellowships of Canadian Regional Airlines and Air Canada Jazz. Planes stored off service roads north of 09/27.|
|Mountainview, Ontario||Canada||Used primarily for storage of older RCAF Aircraft.|
|Manas International, Chüy Region||Kyrgyzstan||Soviet era aircraft began to appear after 1991.|
|Enschede Airport Twente||Netherlands|
|Cotswold Airport (formerly Kemble Airfield), Gloucestershire||United Kingdom||Air Salvage International, the leading European aircraft decommissioning company.|
|RAF Shawbury, Shropshire||United Kingdom||From end of World War II to 1972.|
|Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona||United States||Nearly 4,400 aircraft on 2,600-acre, 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group.|
|Kingman Field, Arizona||United States||Storage and repair for Delta, American and United.|
|Phoenix Goodyear, Arizona||United States|
|Pinal Airpark, Arizona||United States|
|Blytheville, Arkansas||United States||Storage and scrapping for retired aircraft including the MD-80 series aircraft.|
|San Bernardino, California||United States||Storage and scrapping for retired aircraft such as the MD-88.|
|Mojave Air and Space, California||United States||More than 100 planes.|
|Victorville, California||United States|
|Oscoda-Wurtsmith, Michigan||United States||Storage for Kalitta Air and other airlines.|
|Greenwood-Leflore Airport, Mississippi||United States||Storage, modification and scrapping for retired aircraft.|
|Tupelo, Mississippi||United States||Storage, modification and scrapping for retired aircraft.|
|Roswell, New Mexico||United States||Several large passenger and cargo jets.|
|Laurinburg-Maxton, North Carolina||United States||Charlotte Aircraft Corporation strips former Northwest Airlines aircraft.|
|Abilene Regional (Former), Texas||United States||Many retired Saab 340s mostly from Envoy Air-American Eagle.|
- Aircraft recycling
- Ship graveyard
- Spacecraft cemetery
- Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport and Châteauroux-Centre "Marcel Dassault" Airport are also airports with an aircraft boneyard
- PAMELA Project
- Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association
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- John A. Weeks III (2009-07-03). "Field Guide To Aircraft Boneyards". Archived from the original on 2009-11-24. Retrieved 2014-11-06.
- "British Airways to bring back the A380 'SuperJumbo' jet". MSN.
- "Desperate for planes, military turns to the 'boneyard'".
- "The US Air Force just resurrected a 60-year-old B-52 bomber from its 'boneyard' to fight another day". Business Insider.
- "Aircraft reactivation: Has how we store aircraft changed?".
- "How to bring an airplane out of hibernation".
- "Aircraft Boneyards & Storage Facilities Around the World". AirplaneBoneyards.com. Archived from the original on 25 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
- "Australia gets first plane 'boneyard' outside US". Traveller. 27 May 2011. Archived from the original on 23 July 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Photos: Airplane graveyard". 9 August 2013. Archived from the original on 8 May 2017.
- Herman Haverkate (26 October 2020). "Stalemate around Twente Airport: Boeings must go, but are not allowed to go". Tubantia (in Dutch). Retrieved 29 October 2020.
- Brunat, David. "El 'aeropuerto milagro' de Teruel: el parquin de aviones más grande de Europa" (in Spanish). El Confidencial. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
- "Jet cemetery: Where do aircraft go when airlines go to the wall?". The Independent. 10 December 2009. Archived from the original on 2017-06-18.
- Tom Moran (26 June 2014). "Withdrawn Blackburn Buccaneers Torn Apart at RAF Shawbury". Archived from the original on 23 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
- "Kingman Airport carries right conditions for storing, repairing planes". ABC. Associated Press. 18 August 2013. Archived from the original on 2 April 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Phoenix Goodyear Airport (GYR) in Arizona". AirplaneBoneyards.com. Archived from the original on 23 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
- "Pinal Airpark: Once-secretive aircraft boneyard slowly opens its gates". Azcentral.com. 2015-03-27. Retrieved 2016-02-14.
- Chui, Sam (12 March 2020). "Inside The Airplane Graveyard". Sam Chui. Sam Chui. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
- Pae, Peter (15 March 2009). "As travel declines, aircraft 'boneyard' in Victorville fills up". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 11 March 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
- "Roswell International Air Center (ROW) in New Mexico". AirplaneBoneyards.com. Archived from the original on 23 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
- Andrew Vane (27 February 2014). "The Boneyard of the East - My Retro Planespotting Experience". AirlineReporter. Archived from the original on 8 January 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
- "Old planes removed from Abilene Regional Airport". BigCountryHomepage.com. 6 February 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
- "Airports, Bases, Airplane Storage & Boneyards near Abilene Texas". Planes of the Past. Archived from the original on 22 June 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
Media related to Aircraft scrapyards at Wikimedia Commons
- Map of Aircraft Boneyards around the world.