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Making a difference through aircraft circularity

Johan Vlastuin, chief executive at AELS, explains that the organisation’s main goal is to intensively facilitate circularity in the aircraft industry.
photo_camera Johan Vlastuin, chief executive at AELS

For MRO Management, Johan Vlastuin, chief executive at AELS, explains that the organisation’s main goal is to intensively facilitate circularity in the aircraft industry.

We are convinced that we can make a change in the world of aviation by getting as many aircraft parts as possible back into the sector and to support that activity via our contributions to the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA).

We perform the full cycle in-house, from acquiring complete airframes, disassembly and dismantling to selling the components and controlling the remaining material streams. This also guarantees a 100 per cent trace from the parts, a must in our industry. After all, the main advantage of reusing aircraft components is to lower the impact on the environment and maximise the utilisation of our resources.

AELS is determined to contribute to this – it is our mission and we do it with passionate commitment. Our company core values of ‘Being the Best’, ‘Outside the Box’, ‘Sustainable’ and ‘Smile’ help us to make a real difference for our stakeholders and partners and towards our customers.

Back in 2006, our founder Derk-Jan van Heerden asked himself: “What happens when an aircraft is no longer flying?” This question led to him setting up the company. Since then, AELS has dismantled more than 80 Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The aircraft types, both narrowbody and widebody, such as B777, B737, A320fam, A330 and A340 come from all over the world to be dismantled at our facility at Twente Airport in The Netherlands.

This article continues after the below picture…

Dismantling of a B777
Dismantling of a B777

AELS is the only company in Europe that handles the entire supply chain for aircraft at the end of their financial lifetime, from acquisition, disassembly and dismantling to component management and material recycling. For more than 16 years, AELS has grown in this unique niche and is known as a leading and sustainable player in the aircraft parts aftermarket.

Literally all parts of the aircraft, from cockpit instruments to toilet units, can be reused for years to come. The strong requirement here is that the components are disassembled, inspected and recertified. Our dedicated experienced technicians closely follow the guidelines so that aircraft parts can be safely offered to the market after recertification.

All these steps are taken under full supervision of AELS, an essential part of our approach. Since we focus on traceability, we know exactly which path a component has taken so we have complete confidence in sending them back into the industry. All materials that do not return to operational aircraft, or to alternative reuse, such as for educational use, are being recycled and reused as raw material to produce other products.

This approach has been awarded with an AFRA BMP Diamond Level status. It makes us proud that we meet the requirements of this important AFRA certification. We also hold the ASA-100 accreditation for ensuring the quality that our customers require. This all demonstrates that AELS is committed to achieve the best sustainable aircraft recycling.

This feature was first published in MRO Management – November/December 2023. To read the magazine in full, click here.


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