A parking charge of $60 per day at an airport might seem like an outrageous amount, but it’s really pretty reasonable when you consider that that’s what Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) is charging airlines to park giant aircraft there during the coronavirus pandemic.
Just a month and a half ago, the nation’s airlines were doing great business and flying frequent flights in and out of PTIA, but travel bans and nationwide stay-at-home orders nixed that vibrancy practically over night. Since all those planes aren’t flying, they need to be parked somewhere – and, for many American Airlines and Alaska Airlines jets, that somewhere is PTIA.
Currently, there are between 50 and 60 aircraft parked at the airport – mainly planes that belong to those two airlines.
PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker wrote in an email that the planes are similar in some respects.
“All of the planes are single-aisle narrowbody aircraft – both B737-models and A319/20/21 models,” he stated.
According to Baker, the cost of parking planes at PTIA is 60 bucks per night per aircraft. That means the airport is pulling in about $3,300 nightly for those plane parking privileges.
People who drive by the airport and find the right vantage point on Radar Road can see the impressive line of aircraft sadly grounded. Some observers have come away with the impression that the planes are parked on one of the airport’s runways, but Baker said that’s not the case.
“The parked aircraft are not on any runway,” he said. “Some are on a taxiway that is parallel to cross wind runway 14/32, some are on a Cargo Ramp, and a number are parked at HAECO.”
HAECO – which stands for Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited – runs a major aircraft maintenance and repair operation at PTIA through it’s HAECO Americas division.
“HAECO will be maintaining a number of these planes, providing an important and needed pipeline of work for the folks at HAECO,” Baker wrote, adding that that’s “a silver lining of sorts that underscores the importance of the airport as an EMPLOYER.”