Tupelo lands jet recycler: Operations will move from Arkansas

By Michael Tonos/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A Memphis-based company that disassembles large aircraft and resells their parts will move some of its operation from Arkansas to Tupelo this month.
David Rumbarger, president and CEO of the Community Development Foundation, and Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said Saturday that a formal announcement, including details, will be made March 19 at the Tupelo Regional Airport.
Both declined to provide further information, including the number of jobs expected with the move.
The company, Universal Asset Management, currently disassembles the planes in Walnut Ridge, Ark., and also has warehouse space in Pocahontas, Ark.
According to a report from KAIT-TV in Jonesboro, Ark., and a news release from the company, UAM is moving to Tupelo because the Walnut Ridge airport has prohibited any new wide-body aircraft at its hangar.
“So there really isn’t any other option but to take the wide-bodies elsewhere,” UAM Chief Operating Officer Keri Wright told the station.
In Tupelo, the station said, the facility will deal with large aircraft like the Boeing 747, 767 and similar Airbus models. Walnut Ridge will continue to handle the narrow-body aircraft.
The move takes effect this month, but the company did not give a specific date.
A statement on the company’s website said UAM will transfer its warehouses in Pocahontas and Walnut Ridge to a 453,600-square-foot facility in Tupelo.
KAIT quoted Walnut Ridge Mayor Don House as saying that the company told him that it expected “perhaps 45″ aircraft this year.
“We can accommodate a few,” he said, “but we can’t accommodate bunches of them.”
The company website said its facility in Walnut Ridge has more than 25 aircraft in various stages of disassembly.
“Based on current aircraft acquisitions, UAM’s business is expected to increase by 20 percent over the next 12-18 months and will include a significant number of wide-body aircraft,” the website said.
The release noted that the Tupelo airport includes a 16,000-square-foot hangar and 39 acres of ramp and apron space.

Contact Managing Editor Michael Tonos at (662) 678-1605 or mike.tonos@journalinc.com.

About Universal Assets Management
■ Universal Assets Management buys, sells, leases and manages commercial aviation assets for a variety of clients. Founded in 1993, UAM is based in Memphis and has facilities in Atlanta, Denver and Arkansas totaling more than 150,000 square feet.