Teruel Airport, parking and plane cemetery in full growth thanks to the covid.Laurence Lemoine
Nobody knows, but the small city of Teruel (situated 311 kms from Madrid and 144 kms north-west of Valencia) has an airport which is not welcomed passengers for at least 30 years: This is what we call an airplane graveyard. The irruption of covid pandemic, and the fall of the air traffic requires the airline companies to “put away” numerous planes until they return to service: since 1995, the amount of flights in the world has never been as low and the number of planes nailed on the ground, as high as now.
From parking to graveyards
These airports are named «graveyards» because the airline companies send their obsolete planes to them. These storage areas, which are generally dry and arid allow to maintain them in good condition before their return to service or their recycling. Thanks to this restrain in airline traffic Teruel has become the largest MRO airport platform (Maintenance and Repair Organization) in Europe with a hundred airplanes including several A380’s.
The management of airplane parkings is, on a large scale, a challenge for the industry and airline companies which have to find space for their abandoned planes. The take-off runways, hangars, airstrips of big airports around the world have been transformed into real storage areas these last months but are very expensive, this is the reason why they needed the Teruel Platform.
The little known graveyard history of Teruel Airport started in 2007 with a consortium formed by the Aragon government and the City council. They decided to create an industrial airport for airplane storage, recycling and the maintenance of planes. It was a cheaper investment (40 million euros) an interesting project because this type of center has never existed in Spain.
Today, the capacity of welcoming planes at Teruel Airport is about to be overwhelmed. Its turnover has gone up to 30% in just one year, and the construction of new spaces have been realized also.