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Need for exchange over aircraft recycling

Global – Worldwide, nearly a thousand major aircraft are due for disposal each year and yet the industry is ‘short of procedural methods’ for recycling them, according to Prof. Dr Joerg Woidasky of Pforzheim University in Germany. However, ‘the field of aircraft recycling is developing very fast at the moment,’ he reassured delegates at the first International Symposium on Aircraft Recycling in Stuttgart, Germany.

More than 25% of the current civilian aircraft fleet will be decommissioned in the coming 15 years. A troubling factor is that a modern-day Boeing 787, Airbus A350 XWB or similar aircraft is no longer produced predominantly from aluminium but from compounds. At present, recycling processes for these compounds are still to be implemented or made widely available, added to which there is a lack of markets buying the recycled resources, it was contended.

The recycling of end-of-life aircraft offers a ‘huge economic potential’, according to Woidasky. But in order to exploit this, the recycling infrastructure and communication need to be optimised. ‘Up until now, there has been hardly an exchange between the aviation and recycling industries,’ he argued.

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