Australia gets first plane 'boneyard' outside US

Alice Springs has been selected to be the first aircraft "boneyard" outside the United States.

Similar to the massive Pinal Airpark in Arizona, it will take planes being decommissioned from service, which will be stripped of parts like engines, electronics and wiring to be re-cycled.

Airlines will also be able to store aircraft as big as the A380 when they are not being used.

"It's quite ground-breaking for this part of the world," Alice Springs Airport general manager Katie Cooper said.

"It will be the first one in the southern hemisphere of any significant scale. Our big market will be the Asia-Pacific carriers, because of the proximity."

Cooper said Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage Ltd (APAS) chose Alice Springs because its dry, arid climate was perfect for the storage and preservation of aircraft.

It also has runway that can cater to big planes and plenty of room to expand.

"This project represents the first Asia-Pacific based alternative for customers with aircraft based, or operating through, the region," said APAS managing director Tom Vincent.

Cooper said work on a taxiway would start later this year with the first planes expected to arrive early next year.

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Initially the site will cover 110 hectares.

One of the best known aircraft storage areas is the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Arizona, "The Boneyard", which stores 4200 US military aircraft on a 1000 hectare site. The nearby Pinal Airpark provides storage for civilian aircraft.

A similar facility exists in California's Mojave desert.

AFP

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