The Qantas (ASX:QAN) share price is lifting, but returning planes to the air isn’t without challenges

A coild rattle snake looking at the camera.

The Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) share price is in the green today. Meanwhile, parts of the airline’s planes have become a resting ground for Californian wildlife.

The term ‘snakes on a plane’ was made famous by a cringeworthy 2006 movie starring Samuel L. Jackson. But, just as plane-based snakes concerned Jackson, they’re also challenging aviation engineers working to bring some Qantas planes back into action.

The airline’s fleet of A380s is currently resting in the low humidity of California’s Mojave desert. Unfortunately, the climate that makes the desert the ideal place to park planes also makes a perfect habitat for dangerous wildlife.

Qantas’ engineers have taken to using broom handles to scare away venomous rattlesnakes and scorpions.

Though, the planes aren’t expected to be parked for much longer. Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce recently announced the first Qantas flagship A380 will return to Australia on Christmas Day and more will follow in 2022.

At the time of writing, the Qantas share price is $5.65, 1.62% higher than its previous close.

For context, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is up 0.14% today.

Let’s look at what engineers must tackle to get Qantas’ parked fleet back into service.

A380 versus nature

While returning the A380s to service might seem challenging, passengers needn’t fear. The airline’s crew has plugged all orifices to stop wildlife from making a home inside the planes.

Though, crew charged with rotating the aircrafts’ wheels every week need to be slightly more careful.

Qantas’ manager for engineering in Los Angeles, Tim Heywood, commented on the potentially dangerous job earlier this year, saying:

Every aircraft has its own designated “wheel whacker” (a repurposed broom handle) as part of the engineering kit, complete with each aircraft’s registration written on it.

The first thing we do before we unwrap and start any ground inspections of the landing gear in particular is to walk around the aircraft stomping our feet and tapping the wheels with a wheel whacker to wake up and scare off the snakes. That’s about making sure no harm comes to our engineers or the snakes.

Qantas engineers have also been busy inspecting aircrafts’ fuselage and wings for animal and birds’ nests.

Such nests can become a bigger issue than many would presume.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has recognised a trend of aircrafts’ speed and altitude indications being unreliable following a period of storage.

The agency found the issues were generally caused by the likes of insect nests, which contaminated air data systems.

Qantas share price snapshot

Snakes or no snakes, this year has been a great time for Qantas on the ASX.

The Qantas share price has gained 15% since the start of 2021. It is also 23% higher than it was this time last year.

The post The Qantas (ASX:QAN) share price is lifting, but returning planes to the air isn’t without challenges appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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