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At Southern California Aviation's parking and maintenance facility in Victorville, Calif., the influx of planes surprised President Jeff A. Lynn. As recently as August he had about 60 airplanes. Now it's 200, and he expects as many as 240 by the summer. That includes some of the 737s being retired by United.
"I'm just swamped out here," he said.
He estimates that as many as 90 percent of those planes will go back into service again. The planes are on a regular schedule to be towed so they don't rest on the same spot on their tires, and the planes' electrical systems are started and run every couple of weeks.
"We don't really look at a boneyard or a graveyard as our business," he said. "Our business is get airplanes in, treat them well, keep 'em nice, keep 'em maintained," he said.
But so far this year only about 10 planes have gone back into service. The airplane finance market is locked up. With aircraft values falling, lenders are sitting on the sidelines. On Thursday, Boeing Co. reported just six new orders for February _ down from 99 during the same month in 2008.