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How Airlines Can Protect Their Most Valuable Assets

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

In normal times there are more than 20,000 passenger aircraft in service around the world. The outbreak of Coronavirus means that many airlines have temporarily grounded their entire fleet and others are running between 5-10% of scheduled flights.

British Airways have suspended more than 90% of their flights and parked their aircraft at airports around the UK. German carrier, Lufthansa has grounded 700 aircraft, Cathay Pacific has grounded 95% of their flights and parked their planes on the aprons and taxiways at Hong Kong International Airport. Delta Airlines have begun parking aircraft at Pinal Airpark and the list goes on.

Pre-Coronavirus these 20,000-passenger aircraft flew around the skies generating revenue for their owners. The system is not designed to accommodate this number of parked aircraft and the aeroplanes themselves are not designed to be left standing on the tarmac. Airlines have taken initial steps to protect the aircraft by draining down fluids, covering windows and tyres and protecting external instruments.

For now, this form of temporary protection will work. However, it could be months before all 20,000-passenger aircraft return to the skies meaning that some of the fleet will need more medium or longer-term protection. Aircraft that are subjected to high amounts of humidity, condensation and salt in the atmosphere run the most risk of damage from corrosion.

As long ago as 1953 Spraylat developed the first water-based system for cocooning aircraft. In those days, the planes were sprayed in the United States and sent fully protected to overseas bases and loaded on the decks of aircraft carriers. In the Vietnam war the helicopters were peeled on deck and immediately flown into combat. Today this preservation system is still used to protect or mothball aircraft, oil rigs and valuable assets in many business sectors.

The temporary peelable coating is sprayed on to the non-porous parts of the aircraft, protecting it from corrosion or damage during mothballing. When the aircraft is ready to be re-introduced the temporary peelable coating is simply removed by hand peeling. The coating will prevent the need to repair damaged paintwork or in the most extreme cases prevent a full re-spray.

Spraylat Managing Director, Andrew Keir said, “no one wants to be seen to be making money from this disaster however, it is important that airlines are aware that there is a system to protect aircraft should they need to be placed in medium or longer term storage. The protective coating can be removed very quickly, and the temporary coating is much more cost effective than repairing damaged paintwork.”

For more information see our Storage & Preservation page, or contact Spraylat International Ltd telephone: +44 1536 408 409.


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