The first dedicated aircraft storage facility outside the US is to be built at Alice Springs Airport.
Agreement for the construction and operation of the facility was finalised this week between Alice Springs Airport Pty Ltd (ASA) and Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage Pty Ltd (APAS).
APAS will now commence discussions with various airlines and aircraft leasing vehicles.
ASA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northern Territory Airports Pty Ltd, has agreed to a long term sublease of approximately 110Ha of undeveloped land opposite the main terminal at Alice Springs Airport.
The Alice Springs location was ultimately selected due to its climatic suitability, significant existing infrastructure and capacity for major expansion.
The dry arid environment of Alice Springs is ideally suited for the storage and preservation of aircraft.
Tom Vincent, APAS managing director, stated, ???the creation of our facility is an extremely exciting step for aviation in Australia.
“This project represents the first Asia-Pacific based alternative for customers with aircraft based, or operating through, the region.
“Whilst aircraft operators/owners have historically ferried aircraft to the west coast of the United States, APAS will now provide a local alternative, thereby delivering significant fleet efficiencies and costs savings.”
Aircraft are typically parked for short term periods, or placed into longer term storage, for a number of reasons.
The development and introduction of new generation fuel efficient aircraft, which deliver significant cost savings, will likely fast track the permanent retirement of ageing aircraft such as the early Boeing 747, 767 and 737 models.
Ageing aircraft approaching major maintenance checks are also candidates for storage given the significant expenses associated with overhauls.
During economic downturns, such as that experienced during the GFC, falling passenger numbers caused airlines to reduce the number of aircraft flying in an attempt to increase passenger load factors and maintain profit margins.
Delays between the re-leasing of commercial aircraft also result in the need to have aircraft parked until a new lessee takes delivery.
Vincent noted that, ???Whatever the reason for the customer?۪s parking or storage requirement, our facility will provide operators in the region a more flexible alternative for their fleet management requirements.
“The decision to park or store aircraft will be less onerous given our proximity to the Asia-Pacific based market participants.
“Operators now have the flexibility to rapidly place aircraft into storage and then redeploy them as and when required.”
In addition to catering for short, medium and long term storage of aircraft, APAS will offer additional services including aircraft recycling and decommissioning.
APAS is working in conjunction with GHD on the design, engineering and construction of the Alice Springs storage facility.
Source: Business Aviation (http://www.aviationbusiness.com.au/news/aircraft-boneyard-for-alice-springs)Accessed: 28 May 2011, 1:50pm