Aircraft Recycling: Trees, shrubs to help block airport view

TUPELO – There’s no missing the tail of the 747 sitting on the grounds of the Tupelo Regional Airport.
And at six stories tall, there’s no hiding it either.
But concerns about how an aircraft recycling company’s operations will look are being dealt with by the airport, said Executive Director Josh Abramson.
“They keep a clean operation,” he said, referring to Universal Asset Management, the Memphis-based company that is starting its disassembly of large aircraft in Tupelo. “The worst it will look is when there are no engines and with the cribbing on the ground.”
The cribbing are wood-framed containers that will hold pieces of the planes being disassembled.
To help cover the view of UAM’s operations from West Jackson and Air Park roads, trees and shrubs will be planted near the fence line bordering airport property.
While the planes won’t be hidden from view, most of the ground operations should be. Berms also will be built, with more trees planted on them, too.
The cost for the coverup, however, isn’t cheap: $50,000, to be split equally between the county and city.
UAM will fly in 747s and other decommissioned wide-bodied aircraft to Tupelo Regional and take them apart at the soon-to-be-vacated Army Air National Guard facility. The parts then will be recycled.
Abramson said UAM is expected to initially bring in one plane a month as operations ramp up. The company has said it expects business to grow up to 20 percent in the next 12-18 months.
On Tuesday, UAM started removing the four massive engines of the retired Japan Airlines 747 it flew in on Saturday.
“The engines were already sold before it even landed,” Abramson said. “The company is going to recycle 90 percent of the planes they bring in.”
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@journalinc.com.

To see more
– The Tupelo Regional Airport’s website, www.flytupelo.com, also has photos of UAM’s operations in Walnut Ridge, Ark., as well as illustrations of what they’ll look like in Tupelo.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal