Airbus paves way for greener freighters

By Rebecca Jeffrey

Aircraft lifecycle service centre. Photo: Airbus

Airbus is paving the way for greener freighters with the first sustainable aircraft “lifecycle” service centre in China.

The aircraft manufacturer told Air Cargo News that freighters are amongst the aircraft that will be handled at the facility, where activities will include parking and storage, maintenance, upgrades, conversions, dismantling and recycling services.

Airbus has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the city of Chengdu and Tarmac Aerosave for the development of the centre.

A formal agreement to establish and frame this industrial cooperation is planned to be signed between the partners in mid-2022, with an entry into service of the new centre slated for the end of 2023, subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

Tarmac Aerosave will offer eco-efficient aircraft dismantling and Airbus subsidiary Satair will acquire ageing aircraft, trade and distribute the resulting used parts to complete the full scope of lifecycle services.

The facility will cover a surface area of 690,000 sq m and have a storage capacity of 125 aircraft.

“This is another concrete contribution to the aviation industry’s quest for sustainability, supporting the principle of a circular economy in line with Airbus’ purpose to pioneer sustainable aerospace. This unique centre will support the expansion of Airbus’ aviation services while enabling the implementation of China’s “Green Industry” strategy”, said Klaus Roewe, SVP Airbus customer services.

“Aircraft phase-out in China is forecast to grow exponentially over the next 20 years. Airbus is committed to investing in the region and this one-stop-shop – a first in China and outside of Europe – will see Airbus well positioned on the Chinese aircraft ‘second life’ services market.” he added.

Airbus has a busy order book for 2022. In November 2021, Air Lease became the first company to sign up for the A350 freighter model, ordering seven of the model. Later that month, CMA CGM placed an order for four of the freighters.

In December, Air France-KLM signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for four A350Fs and purchase rights for an additional four aircraft. That same month, Singapore Airlines (SIA) signed an LOI to purchase seven A350Fs, with options to order another five aircraft.

Airbus said it will continue to deploy its sustainability roadmap for the aviation industry, enabling the increased re-use of aircraft and the recycling of materials and equipment.

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