With near-complete shutdowns in the cruise industry and super-deep cuts in flight schedules, cruise lines and airlines are faced with a novel problem: parking space for idled ships and planes.
It may be easier for the airlines; with fewer flights, there's more ground space available for parking at airports, especially at former hubs such as Pittsburgh. On the other hand, the biggest U.S. airlines are clustering idled planes at or near their maintenance hubs, where they can be cared for or planned upgrades can be done, or in desert areas in the southwest where low humidity helps keep the planes ready to return to the air.
For cruise lines, the problem is trickier; most of the port cities they serve have dock space for only a few ships; normally departures are staggered with a ship spending one or at most two days in port for every six or seven at sea. But now, with cruises curtailed and passengers needing to be unloaded, many ships are turning around as soon as they have unloaded to make room for others. About 40 ships are believed still at sea and needing to return to the U.S.
One result of the pier crunch is that cities that normally see one ship every now and then are sheltering several idled ships. Jacksonville, Florida is acting as a backup for Miami; Gulfport, Mississippi has a few, others are being ferried to Caribbean ports and lines with private islands are docking some ships there.