Air travel slump spurs TARMAC Aerosave to expand jet storage

The logo of the French Aircraft storage aerospace company Tarmac Aerosave is pictured at the entrance of the base in Azereix near Tarbes, France, January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

PARIS (Reuters) - TARMAC Aerosave, a unit of French industrial groups Airbus AIR.PA, Safran SAF.PA and SUEZ SEVI.PA, plans a fourth aircraft storage site, after around two thirds of the global fleet was grounded at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

The installation at Paris-Vatry, an industrial airport east of the French capital, will handle storage and associated maintenance of passenger planes, TARMAC Aerosave said on Tuesday.

The former NATO dispersal base is one of several French regional airports with long runways inherited from the Cold War and now pressed into service to store civil jets, alongside Chateauroux in central France, a former U.S. base .

TARMAC Aerosave, which also carries out recycling, has two other facilities in France and one in Spain.

When being stored, aircraft must be maintained to keep them airworthy. Vatry will handle both active storage - or short-term parking aimed at keeping the jets ready for flight - and longer term mothballing, which can last for months or even years.

Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Alexander Smith