On a vast plain in eastern Spain, Teruel airport boasts of being profitable without the need for passengers. It is dedicated to storing, maintaining and recycling aircraft, and since the pandemic blocked aircraft on the ground, demand has exploded.
Under a brilliant sun, about 100 aircraft rest at this unusual airport, the largest platform in Europe dedicated to these services. Among the aircraft are nine Airbus A380s, the largest passenger aircraft, and a Boeing 747.
Engines are covered with red tarps to prevent dirt or bird nesting, and with their fluor yellow vests and tools in hand, employees work on checks, part replacements, or greasing.
“We have a global reach,” the airport’s director, Alejandro Ibrahim, told AFP. The client airlines are numerous: Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways, Iberia, Avianca, Etihad, China Eastern …
Those responsible for the airport say that since it opened in 2013 they have not seen so many planes here, and they estimate that in a month the capacity limit could be reached, about 125 aircraft.
For comparison, in March, before the covid-19 pandemic triggered border closings and massive flight cancellations, there were 78.
“The service that we are giving to our clients, which are airlines and leasing companies, has intensified, due to this very important need that there is now maintenance and long-term parking with specialized personnel,” emphasizes Ibrahim.