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Planes in desert boneyards as cruise ships chopped up

October 8, 2020 Headline News No Comments Email Email

It makes dramatic video footage, as you can see below: huge cruise ships, once the delight of passengers and crew, are being deliberately run aground so thousands of workers can chop them up for scrap; while hundreds of planes stretch to the horizon in desert ‘boneyards’.

The video clips are shot from drones, planes and the ground.

Sobering viewing – even shocking, but there are sunnier times ahead, with many cruises still operating and  more planned. Airlines look forward to the pandemic being brought under control. Singapore Airlines (SIA), for instance, has increased the frequency of selected services in its passenger network in October, November and December 2020 – including to Australia.Click here for schedule. By the end of December 2020, the SIA group’s passenger capacity will reach approximately 15% of its pre-Covid-19 levels.

There’s no denying, however, that airlines have taken a massive hit. The cruise industry likewise has suffered enormous losses, as countries slammed no-sail orders into place and hundreds of cruises were cancelled. Some ships have been consigned to the wrecker’s yard earlier than planned.

A BBC clip shows striking footage, shot from a drone, of ships being cut up in Turkey. You can watch the brief clip on the BBC News site here.

The Aliaga Shipyard in western Turkey has seen business boom as it dismantles cruise ships on an industrial scale for scrap metal. Aliaga, about 50km north of Izmir on the Aegean coast, is an area devoted to heavy industry.

It takes 2500 workers six months to fully dismantle a passenger ship. The ships are deliberately sailed aground first.

Here’s a clip filmed from the bridge of the stately passenger ship Monarch, showing it being steered ashore at the wreckers.


And this is Carnival Fantasy entering Aliaga to be scrapped.

MEANWHILE, Victorville in California, on the edge of the Mojave Desert, is currently one of the biggest aircraft parking lots in the world, courtesy of the Covid-19 pandemic. Qantas just flew its last operating A380 there, to be kept in dry storage for probably at least three years. It joined a number of other Qantas planes already there in the “boneyard” – the nickname given to storage areas for aircraft that are retired from service.

In the following video, pilot and YouTube contributor Wolficorn, in coordination with air traffic control (ATC), flies a dramatic low approach in his Grumman Tiger over Victorville’s closed runway, currently home to over 400 jets sitting idle.

After the flyover, Wolficorn flies over the Antelope Valley poppy fields to view an explosion of colour in the Mojave Desert.

Finally, flights haven’t exactly ceased, as this portrait of air traffic over Europe shows. The screenshot below was taken last night from the site, showing live air traffic over Europe at 9.17pm AEDT, Wednesday 7 October 2020 (that’s 11.17am London time). A fair few planes in the air there!

Written by Peter Needham

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