Podcast #55: The Alice Springs “Plane Graveyard”

Planes at the APAS facility at Alice Springs Airport
Some of the planes at the APAS facility at Alice Springs Airport, as seen from the runway. Photo: Matt Graham.

Visitors to Alice Springs, a town in Australia’s red centre, have been greeted by an unusual sight since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The town is also now the temporary home of Singapore Airlines A380s, Cathay Pacific 777s, and many other airliners grounded by the pandemic. In total, there are now around 150 planes – many of them widebodies – parked beside Alice Springs Airport at the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage (APAS) facility. The dry climate, long runway and vast amount of space makes Alice Springs Airport an ideal place for long-term aircraft storage.

While the APAS facility has turned Alice Springs into somewhat of a tourist attraction for planespotters, it sadly also reflects the dire state of the global aviation industry. Most of the planes parked there still have years of useful life in them, but are surplus to the airlines’ requirements during the COVID-19 downturn in demand for passenger flights.

APAS facility in Alice Springs
View of the APAS facility in Alice Springs. Photo: Matt Graham.

In Episode 55 of the AFF on Air podcast, learn more about the APAS facility in Alice Springs, the planes you’ll find there and what goes into maintaining them.

As Matt explains in the podcast, the grounded aircraft in Alice Springs sadly also represent tens of thousands of aviation job losses. But some of those jobs are now coming back.

Last Monday, Rex commenced Boeing 737 services connecting Australia’s two largest cities – with more routes to come. Many of the flight crew working on these Rex flights have been hired after losing their jobs with other airlines, and they’re happy to be back in the air. In this episode, Matt also discusses the entry of Rex into the market and what it’s like flying with Rex in their new Business Class between Melbourne and Sydney.

Finally in this episode, Matt explains what Australian Consumer Law says about your legal right to a refund if an airline cancels your flight in Australia.


Listen now to AFF on AIR Episode 55: “The Alice Springs Plane Graveyard”

You can also view the episode notes. If you’d like to discuss this episode, ask Matt a question or suggest a topic for a future episode, you can join the discussion on the AFF on Air Discussion thread.

If you enjoy this podcast, please take a moment to write a review on Apple Podcasts!

Subscribe to automatically receive the latest episodes

You can subscribe to the AFF on AIR podcast by email, or listen on your preferred platform:

Apple Podcasts Stitcher Spotify TuneIn Google Podcasts

All AFF on AIR episodes are available for you to listen to at any time!


Related Articles

Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]


Notify of