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Retired British Airways 747 catches fire during recycling in Spain

e-Cube Solutions is tearing down four ex-BA jumbos.

A retired British Airways jumbo jet in storage at an airport in Spain caught fire Monday during the dismantling process, British Airways said after images of the event spread on social media.

Video from the scene at Castellón Airport shows smoke pouring from the cockpit area. Airport emergency crews quickly extinguished the fire, British Airways said. No injuries were reported.

The Boeing 747-400, which made its last revenue flight in April, is being scrapped by e-Cube Solutions, according to an Aug. 18 news release from airport owner Aerocas.

The big bird was parked on a remote stand for recycling, and local officials suspect the fire was caused by aircraft insulation catching a spark from dismantling equipment. An investigation into the cause is ongoing.


British Airways, part of International Airlines Group (LN: IAG), in August quickly retired its entire fleet of 31 Boeing 747 jumbo jets in a money-saving move made more necessary by the extreme drop in passenger business because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions and quarantines. The pandemic moved up plans to gradually phase out the four-engine airplanes, which are more expensive to operate than newer twin-engine aircraft. They were grounded since the start of the pandemic when bookings plummeted.

e-Cube Solutions bought four 747-400s from British Airways for disassembly at Castellón Airport, with tear down already underway on two aircraft.

Aerocas said it recently began preparing a new parking area for e-Cube Solutions that will cover 21,550 square meters and accommodate 15 to 20 aircraft of different sizes. The new pavement area was scheduled to be operational by mid-November.

In addition, Aerocas recently signed a 10-year contract with e-Cube for the development of aircraft parking and salvage activities. It also signed a 15-year deal with Brok-Air Aviation Group to develop aircraft maintenance and parking business, with an aircraft maintenance center and 2,500-square-meter parking lot to open by the end of the year. Brok-Air will soon receive 16 Airbus A-321 aircraft that it will store and maintain.

The regional Valencia government is actively working to expand the range of aviation services at Castellón Airport and make it an economic hub.

Click here to read more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at