The IATA (International Air Transport Association) affiliate of the ATAG (Air Transport Action Group) held the Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva on the 3rd & 4th of October this year, to height the potential need for more decommissioning facilities to cope with the rising aircraft retirements.
Tim Zemanovic, President of US Recycling plant jet Yard forecasted that 12,000 airliners will need to be recycled over the next 20 years.
“It’s been averaging 400-600 aircraft a year for the last serval years” He says with a annual teardown business at $80 Million (£60 Million) “Around 40-50% of the aircraft by weight is returned back into the aircraft parts market for re-use. Typically around 85% of each airliner is recycled in some way with only 15% going to land fill” The current aim they have set is to reach a 95% recycle rate on decommissioned aircraft.
“I think for storage purposes your find space, but when it comes down to decommissioning process and achieving the best recycling rates, there might be a shortfall at some stage”
The majority of aircraft are crated from Aluminium which has a vast amount of second-market opportunities however newer aircraft are making extensive use of carbonfibre which could cause some issues when reaching end-of-life.
“The challenge is to find an end user, who’ going to buy the carbonfibre from the recycler? That’s the challenge”