As I remember reading a while back (and I HATE it when I can't site my source!!), there are four levels of aircraft storage, depending on what the customer is willing to pay for:
Level A: This is for planes that are only temporarily being stored, such as direct from the manufacturer to a customer that cannot take them up immediately. Only the most minimal preparations are done to the airplane, so it will be ready to fly at a moment's notice.
Level B: While still in flyable condition (nothing is removed), more extensive preparations are taken to ensure that the plane will be in good condition whenever the customer needs to have it returned. I think a good example of this would be United's 744's and 777's stored at Victorville.
Level C: Some of the older airplanes that might not ever fly again use this. VERY extensive preparation goes into this, and while it may seem silly to store a fuel-guzzling 727, much like trading an older car into a dealer, it will be worth more for its parts than anything else.
Level D: The most extensive without being retired. LONG term parking is planned.
That's what I remember. The more long-term the plane is planned for parking (with eventual re-usage), the more it costs to park, as the more extensive the preparations. So, as to buying a 747, you might want to see if the airline still owns it AND
how much work it would need to restore it to flyable condition!!
If anyone knows more about these levels, I would be delighted to be corrected!!
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