Retired planes come to Roswell

Posted at: 01/09/2014 6:55 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

American Airlines is buying hundreds of new planes, and a lot of the old ones are ending up in our state.

Even though those planes aren’t carrying passengers anymore, they are bringing something important to New Mexico.

After planes take their final flight, a lot of them retire here in Roswell.

That’s where nearly 200 planes are soaking in the desert sun waiting to be demolished.

Once the planes get here, they're torn apart.  They take the parts that can be salvaged and the rest is recycled.

The company taking them a apart is Stewart Industries.

“We disassemble the airplane and we actually have the ability to, as you would say the term ‘crunch’ the airplane to make it down to take the metal to be melted down, smelted in to different products that we take to different locations," said Dale Mullinax, Director of MRO Operations for Stewart Industries.

American Airlines has ordered more than 8,000 new planes in the past five years, and that rate is expected to keep climbing.

The more old planes they retire, the more business for Stewart Industries and more money for Roswell.

“Right now all of the aircraft are coming to Roswell, New Mexico," said Mullinax.

The city gets money from parking fees.  Just this week, the city got a $117,000 check.

"So it definitely means a larger impact for the city, for us, for employees, so it's good for the city all the way around," said Mullinax.

And it’s not just money, it’s jobs.  In the last year, Stewart Industries has been able to hire about 60 new employees.