An Airbus affiliate company that dismantles retired aircraft using environmentally-friendly methods is proving a success, with six aircraft and one set of wings having been recycled at the facility since its inauguration in mid-2009.
The Tarmac Aerosave joint venture is off to a promising start, underscoring Airbus' commitment to minimise the environmental impact of commercial jetliners throughout their life cycle - from design to eventual dismantling and recycling after retirement from service.
The facility - which became operational in mid-2009 at the Tarbes airport in southeastern France - is the first company created for the environmentally-friendly dismantling of end-of-life aircraft. Tarmac Aerosave already has taken apart six jetliners - 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. The site aims to recycle up to 85 per cent of the parts and materials from the out-of-service jetliners that are processed.
Tarmac Aerosave's volume of activity since its start-up is particularly encouraging, considering the full dismantling of an aircraft - from arrival on site to its complete strip-down to component parts for recycling - takes nearly three months. The pace will continue, as several more aircraft 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 Tarmac Aerosave facility also provides storage and maintenance services, which also are flourishing - with some 19 aircraft from eight different customers currently housed at its Tarbes location. All are being maintained in operational condition for an eventual return to service.
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.