Europe's biggest aeroplane graveyard... in the heart of the Cotswolds

This field in the heart of Gloucestershire is Europe's largest aeroplane graveyard.

Kemble-Cotswold Airport, near Cirencester, provides an 'end-of-life service' for between 50 to 60 planes at its base every year.

Mark Gregory, the founder of Air Salvage International, is responsible for dismantling the unwanted passenger jets into more than 2,000 parts [for each aircraft].

His company has been operating out of the private airfield, which was owned by the Ministry of Defence until 1993. Mr Gregory's firm has taken apart around 730 commercial aircraft of all types over the last couple of decades.

The most valuable parts are the engines which are worth up to £18million each.

'Once we have removed them, we then set about salvaging the other valuable parts of the airframe', Mr Gregory said.  

Mark Gregory, who started his company from his garden shed, now dismantles around 50 to 60 aircraft every year 

Mark Gregory, who started his company from his garden shed, now dismantles around 50 to 60 aircraft every year 

The company was set up by Mr Gregory 20 years ago and is now the biggest aircraft dismantler in Europe

The company was set up by Mr Gregory 20 years ago and is now the biggest aircraft dismantler in Europe

This picture shows the cockpit of an A319 cockpit - one of the many aeroplanes to end up at the Kemble-Cotswold Airport

This picture shows the cockpit of an A319 cockpit - one of the many aeroplanes to end up at the Kemble-Cotswold Airport

Mr Gregory, who started the firm from his garden shed, explained: 'The engines and parts are worth more if you take them off than if you try to sell the aircraft as a flying machine.'

He said: 'Between 80 and 90 per cent of the value of the aircraft are the engines. If the customer wants we can remove the engine as serviceable and it can then be leased or sold to be used on another aircraft.' 

The spare parts can be reused in other aircraft or sections and are often sold to training companies where they are used for pilots, aircrew and even counter-terror

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