The paper presents a parallel tetrahedral mesh generation approach based on recursive bidivisions using triangular surfaces. Research was conducted for addressing issues concerning mesh generation reliability and element quality. A novel procedure employing local modification techniques is proposed for repairing the intersecting interdomain mesh instead of directly repeating the bidivision procedure, which improves the robustness of the complete meshing procedure significantly. In addition, a new parallel quality improvement scheme is suggested for optimizing the distributed volume meshes. The scheme is free of any communication cost and highly efficient. Finally, mesh experiments of hundreds of millions of elements are performed to demonstrate the reliability, effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed method and its potential applications to large-scale simulations of complex aerodynamics models. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.