There comes a time when it’s time to retire a plane from active service. Sometimes they might be bought up by another airline and kept in operation, some are converted into cargo carring aricraft, but most go off to a place to get parted out then broken down.
If you wish to store a plane that is eventually going to be broken down for its scrap metal you want somewhere warm and dry for minimal corrosion. The middle of the Mojave Desert is the perfect place to store aircraft, that’s why you’ll find many airplane graveyards there packed with aircraft from all around in the world.
In the above 60 Minutes segment you’ll see where Qantas and many other international airlines store their old aircraft at Southern California Logistics Airport located in Victorville, California. There you’ll find many airplanes from a variety of airlines and aircraft types, from the Lockheed L-1011 to even some of the first Boeing 747s.
Planes that go there don’t nessessarly mean that an airline is declining, it means the airline might be upgrading their fleet with new aircraft that are better and more fuel effecient than their older counterparts.