Finnish carrier Finnair has successfully recycled 99.2% of an Airbus A319 in a hangar at its Helsinki home. The 21-year-old aircraft had been flying with the airline for the entirety of its life, but its materials have now been reincarnated in other uses.
It takes a lot of materials to build a brand new aircraft. However, you’re left with the question of what to do with these once the aircraft has reached the end of its life. Many older aircraft have ended up parked in deserts worldwide, but in the age of sustainability, recycling is becoming an increasingly attractive option.
Tearing apart an Airbus A319
OH-LVB last flew on November 30th, 2020. The aircraft departed from Helsinki, flew in a teardrop pattern reaching 35,000 feet, then descended to land back where it started. Following this flight, work began to tear the aircraft apart. Finnair had a specific goal in mind, to reuse, recycle, and recover 90-95% of the aircraft.
Finnair smashed its own target, managing to stop 99.2% of the aircraft from going to waste. Finnair recycled the aircraft in three stages. Firstly, the airline salvaged parts from the aircraft that it could use on its other aircraft. These could be seats and drinks trolleys. It seems the aircraft’s rudder also made the cut. 38.5% of the aircraft was salvaged this way.
Once Finnair had taken what it wanted from the aircraft. It was time to cut off the wings and tail. The airline’s partner Kuusakoski helped with this before taking the aircraft away to process into raw materials.
The jet is now being reincarnated into several new roles. For example, 15 tons of aluminum have been sent to Mercedes Benz cars. Interestingly, Finnair points out that the material is being used specifically for automatic models.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.
Finnair has previously sent Airbus A319s to Kemble in the United Kingdom to be dismantled. The airline will now go away and look at how the process of scrapping the aircraft went. They are then hoping to repeat the process with other aircraft reaching the end of their lives in the future.
About the aircraft scrapped by Finnair
As mentioned earlier, OH-LVB was the lucky (or perhaps unlucky in this case) plane that got to be dismantled by Finnair. The aircraft, with MSN 1107, first flew over two decades ago on October 18th, 1999, according to ch-aviation.com. Finnair took delivery of the aircraft just 11 days later, operating the aircraft for the past two decades.
Finnair has undoubtedly put the aircraft to good use over the years it has been operational. According to the airline, the plane put in 54,710 hours across 32,966 flights at the airline. That translates to a flight time of 6.25 years.
What do you make of Finnair’s Airbus A319 recycling program? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!