Airlines doing more to recycle old aircraft components at end of life as low re-sale value

Recycling end-of-life airplanes is key to delivering enhanced industry environmental
performance, says Boeing 


22.7.2011 (GreenAir online)
With more than 13,000 airplanes expected to be retired over the next 20 years,
as they are replaced with newer and more fuel-efficient generations, delivering
improved environmental stewardship to airplanes as they reach their end-of-life
is becoming increasingly important, says Boeing.
Developing innovative environmental solutions to recycle aerospace products at
the end of service was part of the aerospace industry’s commitment to enhancing
its environmental performance, Boeing’s Vice President for Environment, Health
and Safety, Mary Armstrong, told delegates at this week’s annual meeting of the
Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA) in Washington, DC. During the event, Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer
announced it is to become the latest member to join AFRA.

In her keynote address, Armstrong encouraged AFRA members to work closely with
airplane manufacturers to develop new aerospace applications for parts and materials
recycled from aircraft at the end of their service lives.

Noting that Boeing is studying ways to recycle a wide variety of materials, from
aircraft carpeting to carbon fibres used to create next-generation commercial
airliners, Armstrong told members: “We want to work with you. We want to develop
markets for recycled products together to help the aerospace industry continue
to grow, continue to innovate and continue to be an environmental leader.”

Also speaking at the meeting, Dr Andy Clifton, Sustainable Development Manager
at Rolls-Royce, stressed the importance of integrating end-of-life planning into
the product design process.

Dr Clifton described how the engine manufacturer was investigating methodologies
and technologies for evaluating likely disposal scenarios for its products that
are intended to retain the maximum amount of material within the supply chain
and minimise the environmental impacts associated with product end-of-life.

He said these developments have to be placed within a broader context where sustainable
development is embedded into standard business practices as a response to societal
and customer expectations as well as a more robust regulatory framework.

“In considering the end-of-life of aerospace products, the key issue is not simply
reducing waste but ensuring the maximum amount of strategic materials is retained
in the supply chain and continues to contribute to the sustainability of the aerospace
industry,” he added.

Embraer becomes the third aircraft manufacturer to join AFRA, and its membership
was welcomed by the association’s Executive Director, Martin Fraissignes. He said
Embraer had a strong and long-standing commitment to developing environmentally
responsible industrial processes and sustainable business practices, which would
be a welcome addition to AFRA’s efforts to move the industry forward.

Guilherme de Almeida Freire, Embraer’s Director of Environmental Strategy and
Technology, commented: “Embraer’s membership in AFRA will intensify the exchange
of experiences regarding recycling and/or the final disposal of aeronautical components,
as well as the technical interchange between professionals, in order to incorporate
new technologies with the integrated product development process.”

 AFRA was set up to focus on best practices in the environmentally responsible
management of aircraft as they reach the end of their life cycles. Since its establishment
in 2006, AFRA’s membership has grown to 55 organisations that collectively have
dismantled over 7,000 aircraft as well as contributing to the return of several
thousand more into service.


Boeing – Life Cycle Approach
Rolls-Royce – Sustainability
Embraer – Environmental Responsibility
Related GreenAir Online articles:
AFRA comes up with ambitious target to improve recyclability rate of the global
end-of-service aircraft fleet
Bombardier and GECAS join the growing list of accredited environmental aircraft
fleet recyclers
Last year:

AFRA comes up with ambitious target to improve recyclability rate of the global
end-of-service aircraft fleet 

9.7.2010 (GreenAir Online)

The aircraft recycling industry is targeting a 90 percent recyclability of the
end-of-service global fleet by 2016, announced Boeing’s Director for Airplane
Environmental Performance, Jeanne Yu, at last week’s annual meeting of the Aircraft
Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA) in Las Vegas. AFRA members currently undertake
the recycling of around 150 commercial aircraft a year, representing a third of
aircraft scrapped around the world. However, more than 12,000 aircraft are expected
to reach the end of their service life over the next 20 years as airlines upgrade
their fleets to more fuel-efficient aircraft, providing both opportunities and
challenges to the fledgling sector. Another target is to reduce the amount of
aircraft manufacturing waste sent to landfills by 25 percent by 2012.


AFRA believes that the current level of aircraft recyclability is around 70%,
which means that the remainder of the Operating Empty Weight of an aircraft is
not recyclable using technologies around today. Those components that cannot be
sold on the secondary market – perhaps because of market saturation – are generally
disposed of. Not only does AFRA want to improve the recyclability level to 90%
but says it is looking to improve the quality, and thereby achieve a higher market
value, of the recyclate from those parts of the airframe that are currently recycled.


“AFRA is the only global organization committed to the environmentally responsible
management of airplanes as they reach the end of their service life, and AFRA
is relentlessly pursuing continual life cycle improvement opportunities,” Yu told
conference delegates. “Partnerships such as AFRA create innovative models which
accelerate technology development and allow industry to set challenging recycling
goals to enhance environmental performance.”


She said there was a need to improve the quality of recycled aircraft composite
materials and find new applications and new markets both inside and outside the
aviation sector. “Recycling also makes good business sense, as the needs of the
market are satisfied at lower costs,” she added.


Using recycled or recovered carbon fibre instead of ‘virgin’ fibre (pure, primary
or newly produced fibre) can also help reduce manufacturing CO2 emissions by 90-95%,
she said.


Yu also sees AFRA as hastening the move towards ‘closed loop’ environmental models,
where airplane materials are recycled for use back into the supply chain. Another
issue facing the industry is the challenge of recycling of aircraft interior materials
rather than disposing of them.


With 90% of scrapped aircraft coming from the parked fleet and the forecasted
growth in the number of retired aircraft, AFRA is seeking to persuade owners of
parked aircraft that with the aid of developing technologies that allow more higher-valued
materials to be recovered from aircraft, as well as by raising the level of higher-valued
materials which return to aircraft production, residual values of their assets
can be increased through recycling.


Founded in 2006, AFRA’s membership has grown to 46 companies worldwide. It has
established an accreditation programme and developed a series of Best Management
Practice Guides laying out best practice and minimum performance standards around
airframe and engine dismantling.



 and also


ANA (All Nippon Airways) To Dismantle Old Planes, Sell Parts

TOKYO (Nikkei)–All Nippon Airways Co. (9202) will branch out into the business of dismantling planes and recycling their
parts as prices for retired aircraft fall.

With demand for new aircraft rising worldwide, it has become more difficult to
sell used planes. ANA can generate more income by peddling components from disassembled
planes than from selling aging planes intact.

ANA will dismantle the planes in the U.S.

The carrier intends to sell as many as 40 planes this way in the near future,
with sales expected to reach 30 billion yen.

ANA will transport planes to the U.S. and have them dismantled by contractors.
Aluminum, iron, plastics and the like will be sold to scrap firms. Tapping subsidiary
All Nippon Airways Trading Co.’s know-how in selling aircraft replacement parts
in the U.S., about 1,000 parts, including engines and gears, will be sold to other
domestic and foreign carriers or recycled within the ANA group.

A commercial airplane is said to have a life cycle of about 20 years. Boeing’s
midsize 767-300 and 747-400D jumbo are expected to reach retirement age over the
next several years. ANA will retire up to five Boeing 767s a year starting from
2012 and two 747s annually beginning in 2013.

Demand for aircraft is expanding particularly in emerging nations. And low-cost
carriers are expanding their networks. But they mostly order new models. Since
the financial crisis of 2008, “prices of used planes have declined 30-40%,” says
an official at All Nippon Airways Trading.

ANA expects the new business to raise its profile as a company serious about
environmental protection.