Commercial Airliner Boneyards and Desert Aircraft Storage

Commercial airliners have limited lifespans. Ultimately, they must be retired from service, stored in "airplane boneyards" or graveyards, and finally dismantled and scrapped.

Active Airliner Boneyards and Storage Facilities

Airliners in storage at Pinal Airpark in Arizona
Airliners in storage at Pinal Airpark in Arizona

Jetliners eventually reach end-of-life due to airframe wear and/or obsolescence. Some jetliners are temporarily taken off flying status, and must be stored in a environment that is conducive to preservation. Others are kept for spare parts for flying aircraft.

To protect airliners during their storage from wind and sun damage, engines and windows are tightly covered with white, reflective materials. A sealed airliner can thus be stored safely, for years, until the time comes to return it to active duty, or salvage. Eventually, all airliners are removed permanently from service and must be "disposed" of.

Airliner "boneyards" in the deserts of the western United States serve several functions: temporary storage, maintenance, parts reclamation, and scrapping. Similar facilities exist around the world, in countries like the U.K., Spain, France, Australia and other locales.

Airliner Storage During the COVID-19 Outbreak in 2020

Airliners in temporary storage

As anyone that flies, has ties to the aviation industry, or watches TV knows, the worldwide outbreak of the Corona Virus has had a major negative impact on airlines and their fleets, worldwide. Hundreds of planes are being put into temporary storage.

Grounded airliners in storage in March 2020

Mojave Airport (MHV) in California

Boeing 747 being reclaimed at the Mojave Airport boneyard in California

The Mojave Air and Space Port serves a variety of aviation and space industries. It is also a storage facility for commercial airliners, due to its vast area and dry desert conditions.

Large Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed, and McDonnell-Douglas aircraft of major airlines are stored at Mojave. Some aircraft reach the end of their useful lifetime and are scrapped at the Mojave aircraft boneyard, while others are refurbished and returned to active service.

The Mojave Air & Space Port


Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA)

Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA)

The Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) is located in Victorville, California. Also known as Victorville Airport, it is home to many aviation related businesses, including Southern California Aviation, a large transitional facility for commercial aircraft.

The facility is located on the site of the former George Air Force Base, in active service from 1941 to 1992.

Southern California Logistics Airport includes a precision instrument runway of 15,050 feet  and a secondary runway length of 9,138 feet to accommodate any aircraft flying today. 

The Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville

Pinal Airpark (MZJ) in Marana, Arizona

Pinal Airpark (MZJ) in Marana, Arizona

The Pinal Airpark is located in Marana, Arizona, just northwest of Tucson. It acts as a "boneyard" for civilian commercial aircraft as well as a site for airliner storage and reconfiguration. Old aircraft are stored there with the hope that the dry desert climate will prevent any form of corrosion in case the aircraft is pressed into service in the future.

Among the current tenants at the airpark is the Evergreen Aircraft Maintenance Facility. Now known as Marana Aerospace Solutions, the company offers more than 600 acres of secured ramp and storage area for all sizes of aircraft.

The Pinal Airpark in Arizona

Litchfield Park / Phoenix Goodyear Airport (GYR)

This facility in Phoenix, Arizona was originally constructed during World War II as a naval air facility known as NAF Litchfield Park, and later renamed Naval Air Station Litchfield Park.

Litchfield Park / Phoenix Goodyear Airport (GYR)

Its primary role following the end of World War II was that of storage and preservation of obsolete or excess U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard aircraft.

In 1965, the Defense Department decided to consolidate military aircraft storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.

Following the closure of NAS Litchfield Park in 1967, the city of Phoenix purchased the airport for a general aviation facility. Today, the airport is home to several private companies offering aircraft maintenance, airliner storage, and commercial pilot training, and serves as a reliever airfield for Phoenix Sky Harbor.

The Phoenix Goodyear Airport

Roswell International Air Center (ROW)

Roswell International Air Center

Located in Roswell, New Mexico, this facility was originally known as Roswell Army International Airfield during World War II, and Walker Air Force Base in later years.

At the time of its closure in 1967, the facility was the largest air base of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). During its active duty years, Walker supported B-29 Superfortress, B-50, KC-97, B-36 Peacemakers, B-47 Stratojets, KC-135 tankers, and B-52 Stratofortresses.

The Roswell International Air Center was developed after the close of the base. Two runways are provided, one at 13,001 feet, the other extending 9,999 feet.

Today, various industry are located at the Air Center, including aircraft repair and refurbishing companies which store airliners onsite.

About the Roswell International Air Center

Continental ExpressJets in storage at Kingman Airport in the Arizona desert
Continental ExpressJets in storage at Kingman Airport in the Arizona desert (staff photo)

Kingman Airport (IGM) in Arizona

The Kingman Airport & Industrial Park is located five miles north of Interstate 40 in Kingman, Arizona. It is home to more than 70 businesses, including the storage of airliners.

When we last visited in May of 2013, dozens of airliners were parked, including those from American Eagle, Continental, DHL, SAS and other airlines.

About the Kingman Airport boneyard

Abilene Regional Airport (ABI)

Abilene Regional Airport in Abilene, Texas ... boneyard with Saab 340 airliners

Abilene Regional Airport in southeast Abilene, Texas is home to retired Saab 340 aircraft from American Eagle Airlines. The turboprops are parked in a corner of the airport’s property, near the intersection of Loop 322 and State Highway 36.

When American Eagle started looking for a place to store the Saabs, they settled on Abilene because the planes would be close to the airline's maintenance base where they could be kept in a condition in which they can easily be sold.

... and view photos of the Saab 340 boneyard at the Abilene Airport

Boneyards Outside the U.S.

Boneyard storage for airliners outside the USA

While large numbers of surplus aircraft are stored in airplane boneyards in the U.S., other military and airliner boneyards are located around the world, in the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, Canada, Russia, and elsewhere.

Storage facilities such as the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage (APAS) at Alice Springs in Australia and the apron Aerosave operation at the Teruel Airport in Eastern Spain house large numbers of out-of-service airliners.

Boneyards Around the Globe

Where Airliners Go to Die ... and Be Recycled

Special Report: How Airliners Are Scrapped and Recycled

Are you an Airliner Spotter?

Identification of individual aircraft models can be hard, considering the number of jet airliners serving the worldwide travel industry, and in desert storage.

Visit our new website and explore guides to spotting the common jet airliners of the day from Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and Bombardier.

... at

Spotting Guides for Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, and Bombardier jet airliners

Map of locations of major airplane boneyards and storage facilities Around the World

click to view interactive map of airplane boneyards and aircraft storage facilities in the United States and around the world


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An online resource about facilities engaged in the storage, reclamation & disassembly of aircraft ... we do not own or operate a boneyard, or have an affiliation with any boneyard, the Department of Defense, or any aviation museum or tour group