Many readers will be aware of sites, particularly in the US, that store decommissioned aircraft, colloquially known as aircraft graveyards, or boneyards. But some readers may not be aware that here in Australia, we have our own aircraft storage facility.

The Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage (APAS), situated outside the Alice Springs Airport, in the Northern Territory, is the first commercial aircraft storage and recycling facility in the region, built in 2011 after an agreement was reached between the Northern Territory Airports and APAS. The facility offers short-term or long-term storage for aircraft, including maintenance programs which meet the necessary regulatory certifications. APAS also provides a decommissioning service for aircraft beyond service life that includes the disposal of fuselage, recycling aluminium, and disposal of all non-recyclable components, managing environmental and waste matters1

Very recently, due to the pandemic caused by coronavirus, APAS has seen a steady flow of aircraft seeking rest in the outback home until the call to fly again is rung. But far from just being grounded these aircraft are receiving extensive maintenance by the dedicated staff. The aircraft currently at the facility range from Fokker 100s to Airbus A380s to Boeing 737 Max 8s. And, due to clever insightful leadership and business planning, the capacity to expand the facility to store additional aircraft is easily met. Expansion for an additional 100 aircraft is already underway, and expected to be operational by June 20202.

As the coronavirus decimates numerous industries, it can be helpful for us to see the ways in which some businesses are thriving. APAS provides a much-needed service to airlines and leasing companies, while also benefiting individuals now by providing current employment prospects, as well as future growth opportunities in areas like tourism and infrastructure.

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