Airbus is trumpeting the launch of its new “lifecycle services” centre in Chengdu, China. In this latest example of another high-level infrastructure collaboration between the Chinese and Europe, the centre, which is being touted as a state-of-the-art “one-stop-shop”, will offer solutions to “manage the entire lifecycle of an aircraft”, according to a press release.
Certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the range of services on offer at the new faciility will include aircraft parking, storage, maintenance, upgrades and conversions, as well as dismantling, recycling and the “controlled distribution of parts”.
At 717,000 square metres, the site has gained LEED recognition (for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a green building certification program developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) but used worldwide – something which Airbus are making a big deal about.
“I’m glad to see the Airbus Lifecycle Services Centre enter into service in Chengdu,” said Cristina Aguilar, on behalf of Airbus SVP Customer Services. “It echoes our purpose to pioneer sustainable aerospace and shows our approach to environmental responsibility across the entire aircraft lifecycle. Our service centre is a great example of Chinese-European cooperation in the development of the circular economy for the aviation industry.”
The centre has storage capacity for up to 125 aircraft, of which 75 percent of them at any one time are expected to fly again. The rest will be dismantled according to a “unique Tarmac Aerosave process” which draws on 15 years of “proven expertise” to ensure recovery of around 90 percent of the aircraft weight. Airbus’s giant parts trading arm, Satair, is also a partner under the same roof.
Top scientific city
The opening was a visually arresting event, taking place against a backdrop of fireworks in a ceremony that resembled a TV quiz, with executives standing behind lit podia upon which they simultaneously placed their hands.
The facility will build up to become fully operational by 2025, directly employing up to 150 employees – not many in the context of Chengdu, the capital of the province of Sichuan, and fourth most populous Chinese city, with a population of 21 million and host to more than 300 Fortune 500 companies. It is one of the world’s top 25 cities by scientific research output, according to the Nature Index 2023, and home to the greatest number of universities and research institutes in Western China.