Out With the Old and in With the… Old? Finnair Recycle 99.2% of Old Aircraft

Finnair have recovered an impressive 99.2% of materials from first Airbus A319 to be 'recycled' by the Finnish flag carrier

Finnair have recovered an impressive 99.2% of materials from first Airbus A319 to be ‘recycled’ by the Finnish flag carrier. This becomes a first for the airline with the 21-year-old aircraft being recycled on home ground in Helsinki and a first for the industry as Finnair A319 became the first ever passenger aircraft to be recycled in Finland itself.

Over 15 tons of aluminium was recycled and will now be used, for example, in automatic models of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, with the automotive industry being one of the biggest users of recycled aluminium.

Timo Rossi, Finnair Maintenance Project Manager, said: “The part-out took place in three phases: First, Finnair removed almost 2000 parts which will support our active fleet or to be sold.

“Secondly, the aircraft was taken outside where Kuusakoski cut off the wings as well as a piece of the tail. In the third and final phase, the aircraft was transported to Kuusakoski premises for the final dismantling.

“As well as using many parts in our active fleet, we are storing the parts in our own stock, so that we have more flexibility to support the rest of our fleet going forward.”

Dismantling the retired A319, which had flown a massive 54,710 hours across 32,966 flights, was a major achievement for the airline. With an impressive 38.5% of the aircraft being used by Finnair, this makes the project profitable for the airline from the aircraft parts alone.

In addition, 7.4% of the aircraft was recovered as energy, Kuusakoski manufactures solid recovered fuel (SRF) of energy-containing waste that is unsuitable for recycling.

Finnair is no stranger to recycling its old planes sustainably, ensuring parts can be reused and waste is kept to a minimum. Just last year, another of its retired A319 aircraft was dismantled by expert partners in the Cotswolds Airport, in Kemble, Gloucestershire.

The dismantling and recycling of this latest A319 took place during the height of the pandemic, when the majority of Finnair’s planes were grounded and thousands of employees were temporarily laid off, saving jobs for many of Finnair’s workforce.

The Nordic carrier plans to review the success of its recent recycling venture on home soil – before making plans to recycle further aircraft in Finland in the future.