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Tarmac Aerosave

An innovative joint venture

Over the next 20 years, more than 14,000 aircraft will be retired from operation. Airbus is addressing the need to manage these aircraft in an environmentally responsible way.

Airbus’ innovative lifecycle approach for its jetliners includes the Tarmac Aerosave joint venture, which is the first company dedicated to dismantling end-of-life aircraft in an environmentally-friendly fashion.  The joint venture was established by a consortium of Airbus and its partners and became operational in 2009.

Located at Tarbes airport in southwestern France, Tarmac Aerosave applies experience from the Airbus-led PAMELA (Process for Advanced Management of End-of-Life Aircraft) experimental project, which defined methods for the environmentally responsible disposal of retired jetliners – including recovery and potential reuse of equipment and material. This process has gone international, with TARMAC Aragon now operating in Teruel, Spain. 

Managing retired aircraft

Located on a 30-hectare site, Tarmac Aerosave is an ICPE (Classified Installation for Protection of Environment) operation for aircraft dismantling, maintenance and waste processing. The installation's 8,000-square metre hangar can accommodate any type of aircraft up to an A380, while its outdoor area is sized to hold 20 airplanes – with room for future extension.

Three services are offered to operators and leasing companies with ageing fleets: parking and storage, part-out of aircraft and engines. The third service is a process to separate and categorise materials, ensuring that hazardous materials are dealt with appropriately and that anything that can be recycled is. Only a small amount of waste ends up in a landfill. 

The site aims to recycle up to 85 per cent of the parts and materials from the out-of-service jetliners that are processed. The full dismantling of an aircraft – from arrival on site to its complete strip-down to component parts for recycling – takes nearly three months.

Tarmac Aerosave also is a source of information and feedback for Airbus concerning aircraft ageing and changes in dismantling techniques. This data is fed to engineers working at the beginning of the aircraft lifecycle, helping them to improve the design of both existing and future aircraft programmes. 

Visit the Tarmac Aerosave website

Did you know?

"In the last 40 years, the aviation industry has cut fuel burn and CO2 emissions by70%, NOx emissions by 90% and noise by 75%."

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