Why you can’t buy Finnair’s recycled aircraft parts
We recently announced the dismantling and recycling of an Airbus A319 aircraft in Finland. Since then, we've received several enquiries about whether it's possible to purchase parts of the aircraft.
Some people may have seen aircraft bodies used as restaurants in various countries. There are also companies that manufacture key tags and other small items from old aircraft.
Strict rules and regulations for handling aircraft parts and components
Dismantling aircraft parts and removing them from aviation usage is strictly controlled and regulated in Finland. Selling aircraft parts is prohibited by the local aviation authority, Traficom. When it comes to reusing and recycling aircraft parts and components, we follow the rules and regulations by Traficom. The aviation authority aims to ensure that aircraft parts don’t end up in the wrong hands or aircraft that are still being used.
We can sell aircraft parts to specialised brokers. We are responsible for making sure that uninspected or faulty parts are not used in other aircraft elsewhere.
The next stage of the recycling process has already been agreed and planned with our external partner. This is the first time a commercial aircraft is recycled in Finland. The aim of this pilot project is to get a holistic view of all materials we can extract from the aircraft and how much of them we can recycle.
The project schedule is tight and it does not allow for last minute changes. The dismantling will begin at Helsinki airport in February and our partner aims to complete their work late March or early April.
We have not made any decisions about the dismantling or recycling of our other aircraft. The decision to take an aircraft out of use is made individually for each aircraft, considering the age of the aircraft and Finnair’s capacity needs.
What happens to the aircraft parts?
We’ll be able to use the removable parts on our other aircraft after a thorough inspection and overhaul. There are about 2000 parts that we can use elsewhere on our own fleet.
Engines, landing gears, the auxiliary power unit (APU) and avionics can be used in Finnair’s maintenance work. Also smaller elements, like seat covers or cabin curtains, can be reused.
When Finnair has removed the parts and components it needs for its flying fleet, the aircraft goes to our external recycling partner. Plastic and metal is separated from electric wires and the materials will be recycled. Many other parts will be used as raw materials by other industries. The aluminum in the aircraft body, for example, can be used in soda cans. Hazardous waste like aviation fuel and hydraulics fluid will be disposed of by burning.
About 90-95% of the Airbus A319 parts and components can be reused or recycled. With newer aircraft, as much as 98% can be recycled.