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23 April 2010
23. April 2010 Commercial Aircraft

Airbus’ Tarmac Aerosave affiliate using eco-efficient ways to manage retired aircraft


Airbus’ commitment to minimise the environmental impact of commercial jetliners throughout their life cycle is reinforced at Tarmac Aerosave, a new affiliate company that dismantles retired aircraft using eco-friendly methods.

The volume of activity at Tarmac Aerosave – the first company created for the environmentally-friendly dismantling of end-of-life aircraft – has been encouraging since this Airbus affiliate’s mid-2009 start-up.

Located at Tarbes airport in southeastern France, Tarmac Aerosave applies experience from the Airbus-led LIFE-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. 

Tarmac Aerosave already has taken apart six aircraft – an Airbus A300B4, A340-600, two A310s, along with a pair of A320 wings, as well as one Fokker 100, and a McDonnell Douglas DC-9. Several more jetliners at the site are expected to be dismantled during the coming weeks, including an A320 and Tarmac Aerosave’s very first Boeing jetliner – a 737-300.

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 was established by a consortium of Airbus and its partners, SITA France and Snecma. The facility currently employs 27 people – a figure that should grow to around 70 employees in the coming years.

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