Aircraft decommissioning and recycling is a multi-disciplinary process, with environmental, operational, safety, legal and economic aspects.
The number of aircraft retirements has been increasing steadily over the last decades. HELACS aims to develop and demonstrate a comprehensive dismantling methodology to enable the classification, recycling and reuse of large components of composite materials from aircraft that have reached the end of their useful life.
Tarmac Aragon has begun dismantling its 1st Airbus A380. Teruel Airport became well known during the pandemic, with Air France, British Airways, Etihad, and Lufthansa all sending the giant of the skies to storage at the site. According to the company, the first thing to be removed from the aircraft was one of its sets of protective breathing equipment. It is expected to take until March to recycle the jet completely.
The application of composite materials is consistent in new aircrafts. Regarding A380, 40 per cent of the aircraft’s structure and components is manufactured from the latest generation of carbon composites and advanced metallic materials, which, besides being lighter than traditional materials, offer significant advantages in terms of operational reliability, maintainability and ease of repair.