Vallair’s Malcolm Chandler says aircraft recycling and waste control is important for industry sustainability goal.
Vallair is a founding member of AFRA and we part-out both Vallair owned assets, as well as aircraft for third party customers. Our disassembly facilities cover ATR, B737, A320 and A330.
Aircraft recycling is a growing business sector for us, driven by the demand for quality used parts to enter the circular economy, and as part of the aviation industry’s pledge to accomplish net-zero by 2050.
Materials removed from the aircraft are separated as recyclable or non-recyclable, and the airframe is deconstructed whilst guaranteeing safety, environmental protection and cost optimisation, as well as leaving the ground fit for reuse.
With two disassembly locations in France, Vallair is in a niche position in Europe because our disassembly hangars, EASA/FAA approved aerostructures facility and paint shop are co-located with our aircraft MRO division. For lessors seeking to transition aircraft with a minimum of downtime this offers a great one-stop-shop, and third parties looking for comprehensive teardown and on-going parts management will be reassured to know that we will also have AFRA approved engine disassembly on-site soon.
Parts are recycled within Vallair, both for aircraft undergoing maintenance at our MRO facilities, or for those parts stockists that send removed units to us for full repair/overhaul. We also offer warehousing for parts which avoids unnecessary transportation if the unit does not have an immediate customer requirement, reducing truck/air movements and ensuing CO2 emissions.
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Forecasts for the part-out industry for the remainder of 2023 and into 2024 are mixed. Demand for USM is greater, as several models of older aircraft which would normally be retired are being retained for operational duties because of the delays related to new aircraft due to enter service.
However, the availability of feedstock aircraft to dismantle is limited – simply because several models of desirable aircraft are flying longer. That said, we have already seen the teardown of the first Boeing 787-8s this year; proof that age alone is not an exclusive reason for reducing an aircraft to its individual components.
At Vallair, we see evidence of effective recycling and waste control becoming a prerequisite of aircraft OEMs, operators or lessors seeking partners to undertake aircraft maintenance and modification programmes on their behalf. This goes far beyond a ‘lip service’ request and this commitment to sustainability and best-practice will only increase across the entire industry.
During the part-out process, Vallair frequently receives unusual requests for alternative usage of large aircraft parts. Requests have included cockpits for keen flight simulator buffs, fuselage sections for crew training, complete fuselage for conversion to restaurants and business class seats for home cinemas. There’s also a growing demand for quirky furniture manufacture including boardroom tables made from wing sections, occasional tables, lamps and much more.
This feature was first published in MRO Management – October 2023. To read the magazine in full, click here.