As airliners become outdated or no longer efficient, they are moved to storage in "boneyards" and later returned to service, or eventually reclaimed for parts and materials.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 the European boneyards that are more significant and well known.
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
View of airliners in storage at the Tarmac Aerosave facility at the Teruel Airport in Spain (photo courtesy of Tarmac Aerosave)
Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 9V-SKA, to be scrapped
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.
TarmacAerosave 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.
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.
If you are in need of spotting info for Cotswold, we highly recommend a visit to the Cotswold Airport Spotting website.
Airliners in storage at the Cotswold Airport
Parking is available 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.
eCube Solutions was formed in 2011 and has been an accredited member of AFRA since December 2012.
A global player in the aviation services industry, eCube Solutions has developed expertise in delivering complete solutions, including aircraft parking and storage, care and maintenance, engine removal, parts storage, third-party logistics, customs management, carpentry and fabrication, disassembly and disposal and lease redelivery.
The company launched another facility in 2019, located at the Castellon Airport in Spain.
An aircraft storage and 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.
EirTrade has a wide range of business services and solutions, including aircraft storage & disassembly, end-of-life asset management, global engine/aircraft/parts trading, QEC management, asset evaluation and more. The company's clients include the world's leading airlines, leasing companies and MROs.
Airframe disassembly managed by or carried out by EirTrade has been accomplished for the following aircraft types: A380, A340, A330, A321, A320, A319, B777, B757, B737/3/4/5, MD83, and ATR72-212A.
Ex-Air France A380 F-HPJB (MSN 40, first fight 02/06/2009) arrived at Knock on February 20, 2020.
Airbus A380 disassembly at the West Airport Knock (Photos courtesy of Eirtrade)
Located at the heart of Europe and in the centre of France, Châteauroux-Centre Airport is an industrial airport specialized in freight, pilot training and aircraft maintenance.
The airport is used by both passenger and cargo planes. It also serves as a pilot training site for both commercial and military planes. Users of the facility include Airbus, Air France, British Airways, EasyJet, KLM, the French Air Force, Lufthansa and other airlines and air forces.
Châteauroux-Centre Airport stored a number of airliners during the COVID-19 pandemic, including British Airways A380s. A total of over 40 airliners were reportedly stored at the airport at the peak of the pandemic.
Stored Air Caraibes airliners at the Chateauroux Airport (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions (AELS) specializes in aircraft disassembly, dismantling and part supplies at its facility at the Twente Airport.
AELS buys end-of-life aircraft, which their highly skilled mechanics carefully disassemble.The removed parts are then placed in inventory, recertified and returned to the market.
Airliners in storage at the Twente Airport (Photos courtesy of AELS)
The Boumemouth Airport (IATA: BOH, ICAO: EGHH) is located 6.5 km north-northeast of Bournemouth in southern England.
The airport supports 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. Boeing 737s are being stored and recycled, among other aircraft types.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 30 British Airways airliners are being parked at the Bournemouth Airport. Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340s have also been parked there.
British Airways airliners in storage at the Bournemouth Airport in the UK in 2020
Airfield or Facility Name
Purpose or Type
|Glasgow Prestwick Airport
Glasgow Prestwick Airport has facilities capable of handling up to 2.5 million passengers per annum. The airport has two runways, with its main runway 2,987m 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 based around Glasgow Prestwick.
|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.
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
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.