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Aircraft end-of-life

Taking the lead with PAMELA

In 2005, Airbus became the first manufacturer to undertake a voluntarily approach to develop solutions for aircraft nearing permanent retirement with a dedicated demonstration project called PAMELA. This investigative study’s purpose was to set new eco-efficient standards for the management of end-of-life aircraft. 

PAMELA was supported by the European Commission, and it successfully demonstrated a business step change: as much as 85 per cent of each aircraft’s components could be safely and effectively reused, recovered or recycled. As the world’s first such full-scale demonstration project, it also identified a generic methodology for handling all end-of-life aircraft, along with a set of best practices.

Decommissioning, dismantling and recycling

With this experience, Airbus and its Tarmac Aerosave joint venture use a proven method for dismantling and recycling the entire product range of Airbus aircraft in an environmentally and financially viable way. With the Tarmac Aerosave platform, Airbus and its partners have established a dedicated centre at Tarbes airport in France – where aircraft are industrially decommissioned, dismantled and recycled in safe and environmentally responsible conditions. The objective is to optimise recycling and valuation of aircraft materials, and reduce the quantity of waste remaining to be eliminated.

 Airbus also has gained experience from Tarmac Aerosave, which is used as a source of information concerning aircraft ageing and improvements in dismantling techniques. This data is used as feedback for the different functions in Airbus, from aircraft early design to end-of-life management – including re-use of final valuation materials. 

One key achievement of the PAMELA project and of the Tarmac Aerosave industrial undertaking is a business shift from “cradle to grave” to “cradle to cradle” – mitigating the risks of future raw material scarcity. 

Visit the Tarmac Aerosave website.

Did you know?

"In the last 40 years, the aviation industry has cut fuel burn and CO2 emissions by70%, NOx emissions by 90% and noise by 75%."

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