Home Spotting News Where to See Stored Airliners in the UK

Where to See Stored Airliners in the UK

by Matt Falcus

The world’s most famous storage and scrapping airports are well known and can be found in the western United States.

Places like Mojave and Victorville in California, plus Marana, Tucson and airfields around Phoenix in Arizona, are great because of the dry weather which preserves aluminium.

In recent years airports like Teruel in Spain have also come to the forefront of airliner storage and scrapping for a similar reason.

But here in the UK, there are also some places you can go to find airliners in retirement, long-term storage, or being scrapped into parts. The weather here doesn’t really suit outdoor storage, so it’s usually the case that airliners do not fly again, but they’ll often sit for months before being scrapped.

Here are the main UK airports and airfields to see stored airliners.

 

Kemble Cotswold Airport

Photo (c) Bob Franklin

Perhaps the most famous UK storage and scrapping airfield is Cotswold Airport at Kemble, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire.

A steady stream of airliners come here to be stored and scrapped. You’ll see them parked in all available areas while awaiting their fate.

See our full list of stored airliners at Kemble here.
[Kemble Airport Spotting Guide]

 

St. Athan

saints 5

Located only a short distance from Cardiff in South Wales, St Athan is a former military airfield which is now home to eCube Solutions which specialise in dismantling, parting-out and scrapping airliners. Like Kemble, all manner of airliner sizes have arrived here, and from some exotic locations.

The South Wales Aviation Group keeps this webpage up-to-date with the latest arrivals

 

Bruntingthorpe

N405CS (ZD950) Lockheed Tristar KC1

This airfield in Leicestershire has a great little collection of significant airliners (and other aircraft) which any enthusiast would want to see. They’re a mix of both preserved aircraft (part of the Cold War Jets collection, such as the world’s last active de Havilland Comet and a Aero Spacelines Guppy, as well as a few long-term stored aircraft which include the former Royal Air Force L1011 fleet and a few Boeing 747s.

Sadly the airfield was recently sold and its future doesn’t seem to be in aviation, so the future of all these important aircraft is up in the air. Hopefully they can be relocated to museums or kept on site somehow.

 

Lasham

An airfield famous in wartime, as well as in the days of Dan-Air London who used it as an engineering base, today Lasham is still used for airliner storage, maintenance and scrapping. There are a few long-term Boeing 727s and 737s here, and various other airliners pass through.

Lasham is located near Alton in Hampshire, about 45 minutes from London Heathrow.

See our list of stored airliners at Lasham here.

 

Bournemouth

2-ESKA | Boeing 737-301(BDSF) | European Aviation Group.

Bournemouth Airport in South West England is fairly quiet for commercial flights, but as a former aircraft construction site it has maintained a status for airliner engineering and storage. In fact, recently much of the British Airways short-haul fleet has been sent there for storage during the Covid-19 downturn.

You’ll often see some wide-body jets parked up, including Airbus A340s formerly flown by Etihad and Virgin Atlantic.

 

Teesside International

LN-RRN Boeing 737-783 arrival at Teesside International Airport MME England from from Oslo OSL Norway as flight SK9212 UK for Willis Asset Management

A relative newcomer to the UK storage airport scene, Teesside in North East England is a small regional airport which recently became a base for Willis Asset Management who refurbish airliner engines and, as a by-product, often scraps the airliners they come from. The first aircraft to arrive, in August 2020, was a former SAS Boeing 737-700.

For a few years in the early 2010s Teesside was home to Sycamore Aviation, who scrapped various airliners on the site, from ATR 42s to Boeing 767s.

 

Prestwick

LN-LNB B788

Glasgow’s second airport, Prestwick, has been associated with airliner storage for a long time. I remember the retired British Airways Tridents going there following retirement, and for a long time you could see a Boeing 747-200 languishing there. Recently Ryanair has used the airport for storage, as well as Norwegian.

 

Norwich

Photo (c) John Bilcliffe

England’s most easterly airport seems to have a regular host of stored airliners parked out along its northern areas. Recently these have included the former BRA RJ100 fleet and some Saudia ERJ-170 aircraft.

Other airliners often passing through Norwich are being worked on by the on-site KLM Engineering base and will usually move on after a few weeks.

[Spotting at Norwich Airport]

 

Newquay Cornwall Airport

A Sad Last Look at Thomas Cook (3) - 24 October 2019

Way down in the south-west corner of England in Cornwall is Newquay Airport. It has a small number of regional air routes, and the on-site Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre with resident BAC 1-11 and Vickers VC10 aircraft. There is also a company on the south side of the site which stores and scraps airliners. Recent examples include former Thomas Cook and Emirates Airbus A330s, and Interjet A320s.

 

Coventry Airport

The days of Coventry as a thriving airport with passenger flights and the vintage fleet of Air Atlantique operating seem to be long gone sadly. But it is still a busy general aviation airfield and, for the time being, a fleet of retired BAe ATP airliners still sit looking forlorn among the hangars on the western side (as well as some other vintage airliners). They will probably disappear in the near future.

 

 

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4 comments

Peter Hoyle August 25, 2020 - 8:29 am

Cotswold airport Kemble near Cirencester is in Gloucestershire, NOT Somerset which is at least 50 miles away.

Reply
Matt Falcus August 25, 2020 - 8:59 am

Peter, you’re right! I’ll amend that now. Thanks

Reply
MERVYN CROWE August 29, 2020 - 1:42 am

Have been to Kemble, COV, NWI, PIK and MME over the years, always a bit sad to see an airline ripped apart, particularly a 747 , such a majestic machine. Almost unbelievable that the BA 747s will all soon be no more, however COVID reality is here.
Watched 747s being scrapped at Marana years ago, not a happy sight!

Reply
Huw Davies August 30, 2020 - 11:40 am

Cardiff Wales airport also has several BA Boeing747’s and a 777 stored there.

Reply

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