Air NZ working to get desert-bound planes back in the skies

Source: 1News

After a tough few years things are starting to pick up for the global airline industry and for Air New Zealand, the time has come to get more planes back in the sky.

Some have been in mothballs in California since the pandemic hit, so staff are working through the process of getting a 115-tonne airliner back in the sky after it's been sitting in the desert for two-and-a-half years.

Victorville in the Mojave Desert is the perfect place to store aircraft, dry and hot, no rust or damp worries, even after 696 days.

The new climate in the Californian desert has taken some getting used to for engineer James Lonsdale.

An Air NZ plane at Victorville in the Mojave Desert

"It was a bit of shock coming from winter in Christchurch to a summer here in Victorville where the temperatures are hitting 39, 40 degrees," he said.

Old mate ZK-OKP is the first place to take flight, but it's not just about flicking the switch and firing her up.

Each Boeing 777-300 takes six to eight weeks to get ready.

Servicing is done on everything from flight operating systems, to tyres, to the upholstery on the seats.

Then it's the long haul back to Auckland for another check up and check over before it's all aboard for taking passengers back across the Pacific.