Aircraft Boneyards, MRO & Storage Facilities in Europe
As airliners become outdated or no longer efficient, they are moved to storage in "boneyards" and later returned to service, or eventually reclaimed for parts and materials.
Boneyards provide a variety of operational services, including temporary storage, maintenance, parts reclamation, and scrapping.
Airplane boneyards in the United States store large numbers of Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer airliners, but other boneyards in Europe offer the same services.
Other airplane boneyards are located around the world, such as in Australia and Russia.
We discuss below European boneyards that are more significant and well known.
Tarmac Aerosave at the Teruel Airport, Spain
In Eastern Spain, the Teruel Airport, located about 100 miles south of Zaragoza, was constructed as a storage and recycling facility for airliners. It also supports maintenance and servicing operations. Airliners in storage have included aircraft manufactured by Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and other companies.
It is operated by Tarmac Aerosave, and is the largest airliner storage facility in Europe, designed to handle 250 large aircaft.
For more information, visit www. TarmacAerosave.aero
Aerial view of airplane storage area at the Teruel Airport in Spain
View of airliners in storage at the Tarmac Aerosave facility at the Teruel Airport in Spain (photo courtesy of Tarmac Aerosave)
Airliners in storage at the Tarmac Aerosave facility at the Teruel Airport in Spain (photo courtesy of Tarmac Aerosave)
Air Salvage International (ASI) at Kemble-Cotswold Airport in the U.K.
Air Salvage International (ASI) is one of Europe’s leading airliner storage and maintenance facilities. At Kemble-Cotswold Airport, its environmentally compliant fixed base, it has secure parking for in excess of 20 wide and up to 50 narrow-bodied commercial aircraft.
ASI is a market leader in delivering professional disassembly services to the global aviation industry with almost two decades of experience.
It is located at Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 6BA, United Kingdom.
Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrenees Airport, Hautes-Pyrénées, France
Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport is located 9 km south-southwest of Tarbes and near Lourdes, both communes of the Hautes-Pyrénées département in France. The location is about 120 km from Airbus's Toulouse headquarters.
The airport mainly handles scheduled and charter flights from a variety of airlines across Europe. The airport has sufficient capabilities to handle large aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380.
Tarmac Aerosave is an EASA and FAA Part 145 MRO company dedicated to aircraft storage, aircraft maintenance, recycling and CFM56 engine recycling in an entirely environmentally friendly manner.
With its headquarters in Tarbes (France) and a new aircraft storage facility in Teruel (Spain), Tarmac Aerosave is able to offer the largest aircraft storage capacity in Europe with space for 250 aircraft.
In November of 2017 the first A380 to exit service, from Singapore Airlines, was flown to Pyrénées Airport for storage while the owner (Dr. Peters) sought a new operator. This aircraft, registered as 9V-SKA, was the third A380 built, the first two being test airframes.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 9V-SKA, to be scrapped
It was reported in June, 2018, that the first two commercially operated A380s are going to be dismantled. These are aircraft MSN 003 (9V-SKA) and MSN 005 (9V-SKB), now painted white. The airliners will not be completely scrapped, but valuable components such as landing gears and electronics will first be salvaged for sale. Engines have already been removed and leased back to Rolls-Royce for use as spares. VAS Aero Services is responsible for parts disassembly and sale.
For more information, contact www.TarmacAerosave.aero
Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport, location of Tarmac Aerosave
Glasgow Prestwick Airport (PIK) in Scotland
Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Scotland currently serves in excess of 2.3 million people who live within 60 minutes’ drive of the airport. The airport has facilities suitable for up to 2.5 million passengers per annum.
The airport has two runways, with its main runway 2,987 meters in length – the longest commercial runway north of Manchester. This enables the airport to handle all types of aircraft.
The most significant growth in Scottish aviation industry has been in the maintenance, repair and overhaul industries, which are focused around Glasgow Prestwick.
Key companies in the area include:
- GE Caledonian
- Spirit AeroSystems
- Collins Aerospace
- Ryanair (Prestwick Aircraft Maintenance)
- BAE Systems
- Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems
- Chevron Technical Services
Ireland West Airport Knock
An aircraft dismantling facility operated by Eirtrade Aviation is located at Ireland West Airport Knock. Projects include parts reclamation and scrapping of four Air France Airbus A380 airliners.
Ex-Air France A380 F-HPJB (MSN 40, first fight 02/06/2009) arrived at Knock on February 20, 2020.
Predannack Airfield, United Kingdom
The runways at Predannack Airfield are operated by the Royal Navy, and used as a satellite airfield and relief landing ground for nearby RNAS Culdrose. Various retired aircraft belonging to the Royal Naval School of Fire Fighting are in storage at the facility, and used for aircraft crash rescue practice.
The site includes a variety of post-war RAF and Royal Navy aircraft types, from Harrier Jump Jets and Wessex and Sea King helicopters to a Canberra Bomber and Sepecat Jaguar.
The airfield is located on the Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula, United Kingdom, near the village of Mullion.
Aerial view of airplane sites at Predannack Airfield in the United Kingdom
Other Storage and Reclamation Facilities in Europe
Airfield or Facility Name
Purpose or Type
|Bournemouth Airport||There is a variety of maintenance, repair and overhaul services (MRO), for different aircraft types, as well as fixed base operators (FBO), flight training and flying schools at the airport. Boeing 737s are being stored and recycled, amongst other aircraft types.||United Kingdom|
|Bruntingthorpe Airfield||In March 2013, nine RAF Lockheed TriStars were flown to the airfield and are now parked on site. GJD Services have been keeping the planes under a storage and maintenance programe.||United Kingdom|
|St Athan Airfield||Parking is available for at St. Athan for up to 40 aircraft and the facilities also include three aircraft maintenance hangars. eCube Solutions employs over 100 staff at the St. Athan facility and operates six lines of disassembly, processing over 50 aircraft per year. Line and base maintenance capabilities are available at St. Athan for a wide variety of commercial aircraft types to support aircraft redelivery processes. eCube Solutions has been an accredited member of AFRA since December 2012. eCube Solutions Spain is another facility, launched in 2019, located at Castellon Airport.||St Athan, Wales|
|Castellon Airport||eCube Solutions has been an accredited member of AFRA since December 2012. eCube Solutions Spain is another facility, launched in 2019, located at Castellon Airport.||Castellon, Spain|
Map of locations of airplane boneyards and storage facilities around the world
Where Airliners Go to Die ... and Be Recycled
Identification of individual aircraft models can be hard, considering the number of jet airliners serving the worldwide travel industry, and in desert storage.
Visit our new website and explore guides to spotting the common jet airliners of the day from Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and Bombardier.