MRO EUROPE: Tarmac to open huge aircraft storage facility in 2013

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French aircraft recycling specialist Tarmac Aerosave is nearing the operational start of Europe's largest storage and dismantling facility at a purpose-built airport in Teruel, Spain.

The regional government of Aragón and town council of Teruel have newly constructed the hub - featuring a 2,800m (9,200ft) runway and 120-hectare parking area for up to 225 aircraft - to accommodate the Tarbes-based company and potential other aviation users, such as MRO providers and pilots schools. But the €32 million ($41m) airfield dubbed "Plata" will not be used for commercial airline flights.

Tarmac has moved into a 6,000m² hangar which can accommodate a Boeing 747 and will be used to dismantle aircraft.

The company was founded in early 2009 to store aircraft - and perform maintenance tasks to keep them in airworthy condition - as well as provide tear-down services. It is jointly owned by Airbus (33%), Sita (33%), Snecma (19%) and Toulouse-based component repair shop Equip' Aero Industrie (15%).

Thus far, Tarmac has had around 100 aircraft under contract at its headquarters facility at Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées International airport, with around 70 being stored and the remainder dismantled. While that site can only accommodate 25 aircraft, both locations will be used in future.

Most of the aircraft under contract are Airbus models, given that the European airframer's asset management arm is a main client of Tarmac. The recycling firm is certified to handle all commercial Airbus models except for the A380.

But it also supports Boeing 737s and MD-80s and plans to extend its capabilities to store other models, including the 747 and 777. Dismantling aircraft doesn't require a type-based approval.

José Moliner, sales and commercial director, expects that the Teruel facility will receive EASA maintenance approval by the end of October, with storage activities due to begin early next year. The company also plans to gain FAA certification.

Last year, Tarmac registered revenues around €7m. Moliner expects that the new facility in Teruel will create around 100 jobs over the next five years.