The airline industry looks forward to become eco-friendly, while cutting costs. Another area of increasing interest is that of aircraft recycling. Aircrafts are made of different materials and devices, including long and short glass, carbon fiber composites, wires, aluminum, textiles and carpet, electronic devices, landing gears, fluids, foam, engines, titanium, steel alloys and other parts. At the end of the aircraft’s useful life, the majority of these devices and materials can be recovered and reused. Because there are many different uses of old airplane parts, aircraft recycling has become a new, booming industry.

Different uses of end-of-service aircraft parts


After they have been recovered and processed, the reusable materials of an old aircraft can be used to design circuit boards for phones, TVs and computers. Some aircraft parts are also used to produce brand-new aircrafts. Using old aircraft parts like trays, overhead bins and galley carts in the fitting of new aircrafts helps airplane producers to control their costs. This is particularly beneficial as cheaper flights are gaining demand in a highly competitive industry.

Utilizing these low cost aircrafts will encourage different airlines to charge cheaper airfares and thus helping them to become competitive in the market. Even selling an airplane that is out of order to a recycling company can help recover some of the initial costs. Furthermore, aircraft parts can be utilized to make a wide range of items, such as building cladding, houses, furniture and boats. Therefore, increasingly, aircrafts are being designed with recycling and reuse in mind.

Benefits of recycling aircrafts

In addition to the different uses of end of term aircraft parts, aircraft recycling offers a number of benefits. First and foremost, aircraft recycling and reuse reduces the allocations to landfill, energy demand and consumption of natural resources. Secondly, aircraft recycling ensures eco-friendly disposal of aircraft waste. This helps to reduce contaminations to air, soil and water.

The aircraft recycling process

The process of recycling aircrafts is a bit different from the normal recycling process (that involves collecting, sorting, processing and reuse). Some easily collectable items, like engines, passenger seats, etc are removed and what is left is a shell. Different parts of the shell are then broken down into smaller pieces and transported for the next phase of the process of recycling. You will discover different types of metals and plastics that need to be recycled.

A process of sorting is required, with a powerful magnet being used to separate steel and iron from plastics and aluminum. A manual check ensures an error-free sorting of the materials. Once all the materials are separated, each of them is used as raw material for purposes of producing circuit board for TVs, computers, phones and many other items.

Aircraft recycling industry trade association

The AFRS (Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association) is the leading global trade association that is devoted to pursuing and promoting environmentally best practice on matters of salvaging and recycling aircraft materials and parts. The association was established in 2006 to facilitate a sustainable management of end of term airframes and aircraft engines.