(NewsNation Now) — Airlines are working to keep up with demand as air travel increases more than a year the start of the pandemic.
Just north of San Bernardino, California, on the outskirts of the mojave desert, lies Victorville — a beacon for aircraft enthusiasts.
Commercial Aviation Technical Services (ComAV) is the American leader in airplane storage and redeployment.
“We serve every type of fleet,” General Manager WIlliam Tollison said.
When the pandemic hit last year air travel crashed. About 5,000 commercial planes went offline. Hundreds of them have been stored at ComAV.
“We were up over 500 aircraft. This was actually very similar to 9/11 for us. When you get the call…hey we’ve got a lot of aircraft. We need to make sure they go somewhere,” said Lisa Christine, Director of Corporate Initiatives, ComAV.
Today, the company’s runways are full of the world’s most traveled carriers and notorious planes, including the tainted Boeing 737 max that was housed here during its grounding.
With post-pandemic travel making its comeback, many of these perfectly good planes are headed back up. But their return to the skies isn’t immediate.
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“It could take one week up to 30 days,” Tollison said.
Rigorous maintenance checks have to be completed along with training for airline personnel.
Captain Bruce “Buck” Rodger is the president of Aero Consulting Experts. He wasn’t furloughed in 2020, but the pilot predicts he’ll have to switch planes, since international travel remains dormant.
“Ill have to go to school and get retrained. And there’s a pipeline and a backup there. And its not just at my airline, it’s at all the airlines,” Rodger said.
After the bumpy ride that was 2020, aviation is coming back.
“We want to see these aircraft flying. One hundred percent,” Tollison said.