When Universal Asset Management announced its plans for expansion and business activity in Tupelo in early 2011, aircraft recycling was a new concept and business model in this community.
UAM landed its first aircraft for disassembly, a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet, in March 2011 at the Tupelo Regional Airport. With over 5,000 individual components on this plane, UAM recycled more than 90% of this airframe and related components. These units sell to airlines around the world and, after recertification to verify all safety standards are approved, each returns to service.
UAM follows a very detailed workscope for each disassembly project, to ensure the projects are completed in a safe, timely and environmentally friendly manner. The landing gears are the last component assembly removed from the airframe, and the cockpit cutouts are often sold as simulators. At this stage, the project is less than two weeks from completion and final scrapping. It might bring to mind images of a “junkyard”, or what some in the industry refer to as a “Boeing boneyard”, but not at Universal Asset Management. Our efficient methods keep our facility clean and green. All waste fuel is promptly recycled, so there’s no staining or damage to the ramp. As each component is cleaned and tagged, it’s moved to our warehouse facility to prevent excess storage at the hangar.
Our process through the disassembly to the final two week completion stage is finitely focused on a tidy operation.
“When UAM joined this community, we pledged to be mindful of your eco-friendly business practices and the aesthetics of this great city. While our operation is somewhat industrial at its core, we’ve kept that promise to maintain your airport grounds free of aircraft debris and clutter. Once we begin the final phase of our current 747 disassembly, it will do a “disappearing act”. The cockpit cutout and scrapping is completed in a mere 2 weeks, and we move along to our next big project to continue our growth plans in Tupelo,” Keri Wright, UAM’s Chief Operating Officer UAM, explains.So what happens to the remains?
Since 2008, UAM has inducted over 100 aircraft into the UAM End of Life Recycling Program. Now administered at UAM’s Tupelo Regional Airport disassembly facility, these projects are the greenest approach to aircraft dispositions and fleet retirements. It’s not a teardown facility but a recycling center. At the completion of each disassembly project, the facility is cleaner and greener than what you might expect. If it weren’t for the jobs and increased activity at the Tupelo Regional Airport, along with the photos of the 747-400 arrival last spring, there’s no evidence left of the project.
As a charter member of AFRA (Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association), UAM helps establish industry guidelines and disassembly stages for a full aircraft disassembly – with consideration to proper disposal of aircraft fluids and reutilization of 90%+ of the airframe and related components.
Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., UAM is an environmentally-friendly industry leader in aircraft recycling and reusable inventory. The company operates in nine other locations throughout the U.S. and currently maintains over 535,000 inventory items and sells to more than 1,200 customers worldwide.
For more information contact:Keri Wright, Chief Operating OfficerUniversal Asset Management, Inc