Finnair to Dismantle and Recycle Airbus A319 at Helsinki Airport for the First Time
The 21 year old Airbus A319 has ended its economic lifecycle and Finnair will dismantle and recycle the aircraft at Helsinki Airport. Last year the carrier sent an A319-112 to Cotswolds in England to be dismantled, but this is the first time the process will be undertaken in Finland.
On Tuesday (February 16, 2021), Finnair announced that they will dismantle and Recycle and Airbus A319 for the first time on home soil at Helsinki Airport. Last year one of the carrier’s Airbus A319-112s was sent to Cotswolds in England to be dismantled by Finnair’s expert partners, and now the sister aircraft will receive the same treatment in Finland. After 21 years of service with 54,710 flight hours and 32,966 flights, the A319 will be dismantled by Finnair mechanics where usable parts such as engines, seats and avionics components will be preserved for use in Finnair’s fleet.
In Today’s announcement, Finnair’s President of Technical Operations, Juha Ojala, said,
“This is the first time that a Finnair aircraft is dismantled and recycled in Finland. We made the decision to take the plane apart at our home hub to optimize sustainability and economics. This project allows us to improve the cost efficiency of maintenance operations and employ our mechanics during the pandemic when their normal workload has decreased. Many parts of the plane that will be dismantled – like landing gear, engines, the auxiliary power unit and avionics – can be utilized in Finnair’s maintenance operations, which supports both sustainability as well as cost efficiency. The parts that will be reused will be carefully inspected and overhauled. Smaller elements, like seat covers or cabin curtains, can also be reused.”
Previously, retiring Finnair aircraft were recycled elsewhere in Europe, typically by companies in ‘dry zones’ with a favorable climate for long-term storage. The decision to dismantle and recycle the aircraft in-house is a milestone for Finnair, requiring special planning and project management considerations. Aircraft have a maximum service life, as they can only handle a set amount of cycles or pressurizations, and then must be taken out of service in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. In newer aircraft, up to 98% of parts can be reused and recycled, while with older aircraft, such as the A319, around 90% can be reused. Further commenting on the project, Finnair’s Project Manager for Technical Operations, Timo Rossi, added,
“This will be the first commercial airliner to be recycled in Finland. It’s all part of Finnair’s sustainability strategy, ensuring that older planes that have completed years of service can be taken apart safely and their parts reused. It’s going to be done in three parts. Finnair is going to remove bigger components such as the wings, engines, landing gears, auxiliary power unit (APU). Then a couple of hundred other parts will be taken off for eventual use in our active flying fleet. We’ve calculated the component removals will take roughly eight weeks. At Helsinki Airport it will take around a day to cut off the wings and the tail to get the aircraft transported to the final recycling location. The current plan is to start in the middle of February, with the work of our partner finishing in late March or early April.
“As an airline, our plan is to reuse as many parts as possible. Our partner will be able to recycle more than 90 percent of the remaining aircraft, maybe 95 percent. The exact numbers will be more clear once the work is done. They’re able to recycle nearly all of it. They have already said that the waste from the aircraft will be really minor. Components and parts from all over the aircraft will be reused depending on our needs at the time. All parts will be carefully inspected and if necessary, repaired. Landing gears can be installed on another aircraft as those have been recently overhauled. And the APU is going to be reused too, as well as a lot of avionics components. We are storing the parts in our own stock, so that gives us more flexibility to support the rest of our fleet going forward.”
Specializing in passenger and cargo traffic between Asia and Europe, Finnair has a competitive advantage due to their geographical location. Finnair is also the only Nordic network with a 4-Star Skytrax rating and carried over 14.7 million passengers in 2019, earning revenues of €3.1 billion. The carrier is also a member of the global oneworld® alliance and its shares are traded on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange.